There is one show on everyone’s lips in Milan: Moschino. The brand, which is celebrating its 40-year anniversary with a mega show this evening, is set to go all out. It remains a household name thanks to Jeremy Scott, its creative director of a decade who announced his shock departure in March. The best of his designs have been worn by the world’s most famous. He dressed Katy Perry as a chandelier, Gigi Hadid as a bouquet and Kaia Gerber as a Picasso-style guitar, for starters.
But it was the house’s founder, Franco Moschino, who paved the way for this celebration of the satirical-cum-surreal. Decades ago, he was making bin bag dresses, clothes hanger hats, pasta buttoned vests and teddy bear helmets. In 1989, when brands sent the shoulder-pad masses down the catwalk, Moschino hosted a ‘fashion circus’, a gladiator packed extravaganza. Wit was his game. “It’s easy to be funny with a T-shirt, but it’s more clever with a mink coat. After all, if caviar was cheaper it would taste much less interesting,” he said. He died of Aids-related causes in 1994. Tonight, the brand will pay tribute to him in an anniversary show which, it can be revealed, has been designed by four of the world’s top fashion stylists. They have searched through the archive and designed 10 capsule collection looks each. Here the stylists explain how they tackled the daunting task:
“I was flattered to be asked,” says Katie Grand, founder of magazines including Perfect and Love, and long-time stylist for designers Miuccia Prada and Marc Jacobs. “His use of slogans spoke to me the most,” she says of Moschino’s witty taglines. Highlights have included “Waist of Money” belts and “Sorry. I’m Italian!” embroidered jackets. Grand also wanted to nod to Moschino’s theatrical shows, so she worked with resident choreographer of The Royal Ballet, Wayne McGregor. “We’ve created a short piece with his dance company,” she says. “It makes me super nervous.” Proceeds will go to The Elton John Aids Foundation in memory of the designer. “Working in fashion as long as I have, I’ve seen many people lose their young lives to Aids,” she says. “It’s such an important charity.”
Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele
Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele is one the most colourful characters in fashion. The stylist was responsible for putting jeans on Anna Wintour’s first US Vogue cover, worked closely with Karl Lagerfeld, and supported Scott at Moschino. “I have a big respect for the house of Moschino,” she says. “I have taken his best ever basics made in his most humorous and imitable way.” One gets the sense tasks like this do not much daunt her anymore. “It wasn’t challenging, I did all the pieces I know by heart from all my life.”
“I tackled the archive through good old fashioned research,” says Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, the buoyant global contributing fashion editor-at-large at Vogue. “What stood out to me most is that even in the moments of extreme wearability, there is a sense of stylistic rebellion.” To create her line-up, she has looked to Moschino’s early years. “My looks are an ode to the joy of dressing and peacocking — I wanted to evoke the era in which Franco founded the brand, one where shows felt social, and jovial, and were not always just about the clear communication of a specific and concise message.”
For all the gags in Moschino’s collections, there was plenty of beauty and detail too. Lucia Liu, one of China’s most in-demand stylists, has leant into the more romantic. “I have looked at the floral pattern, the flow of fabric in his spring/summer 1993 collection,” she says. “He was designing in a time when everyone else was kind of creating the same trend, and he was trusting his own creative vision, comparing humour and fantastic techniques to his design approach to present to the world a new look.” She hopes the show will nod to that innovation. “Having four stylists from different backgrounds and different places join forces to create a collection makes it such h an exciting show.”