Jeremy Scott's collections at Moschino can tend to feel a touch apathetic. This collection felt like it had heart - and a mind. Still absolute theatre in places, the red velvet curtains and the audio announcement that we were 'at the dream factory' put us bang in the middle of a Lynchian take on surrealist dystopia.
The 1966 novel Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann was the reference. A more cultural classic fashion reference point, you would expect from someone like Marc Jacobs, this saw the collection step away from the seemingly low-brow reference points of McDonalds and Barbie. All the guests had a bottle of 'pills' delivered with their invitation. There were a few pieces towards the end of the collection with prints of colourful valium capsules on them, but mostly it was the nicknames the girls gave them - 'the dolls' - which gave Scott an in, so to explore the narrative of the mannequin.
With white tabs that stood out from the side of clothing and accessories, Scott had decided to make his dolls appear like those 2D flat types one would create as a child. One dress was also printed with a paint-by-number colouring stencil. Juxtaposing with super grown up blowdrys - as seen in Prada's Past Forward film - there was an all knowing fakeness to this haute glamour. The models here looked gorgeous though; a real super gang of girls. Even though it had the vibe of a 50s beauty pageant, it didn't feel elitist - this was a show that celebrated both beauty and brains. The words 'chemise', and 'la rouge à levres' were called out over a microphone, as if these things were model names at a Miss World contest - rather than products. The girls themselves were products, wearing 2D flat versions of iconic Moschino chain tees or 20th century greats - such as prom dress, cocktail glove, feather boa, handbag or biker jacket. The show notes referred to her as 'the template, ready to be outfitted.' One word that was read out during the audio - 'vetements' - felt satirically right for the times. The fashion industry's ability to think they are too clever for 'trends' is particularly comical, seeing as we live in one of the most 'it-item' led eras ever. Hoodie, anyone? Fetishised across the industry, there was one offered here too.
Jeremy Scott has seemingly begun even flat packing his own archive. His Moschino teddy bears were delivered as front facing detail, on a black cocktail dress that was left plain white at the back. The reverse of each and every item and accessory here were all in fact left blank. As it said in the show notes: ‘what you say and what you get is never in sync.’ We saw this postmodern trick at Marc Jacobs A/W 10, where he loaded cardigans and evening pieces with crystals and sequins at the front, whilst they were just plain grey jersey on the back. It's an artistic illusion that comments on the packaging of dream culture, and consumerism itself. At Moschino, one handbag held by a model had an actual mannequin hand attached to it. Like a surrealist 1940s Horst photograph, this was a fashion spectacle that saw the real and the unreal co-exist.
The voice continued to announce pieces, moods and sartorial demands. 'I want something better, Je veux quelque chose de mieux.' Reminding one of the hypnosis audio from Loewe last season, Scott's conscious calling out on the biggest mass hypnosis of all - consumerism - keyed into Franco Moschino's use of surrealism to communicate the very same message. The phrase 'Dada-touched irreverence' was mentioned in the show notes. Too commercially afraid to perhaps adopt an art position at Moschino before, Scott seems finally ready to admit that this was what was happening all along. And it makes his role at the house all the more relevant for it.