Pin It
Moschino AW16
Backstage at Moschino AW16Photography Federica Fioravanti

Jeremy Scott sets Moschino ablaze, literally

Singed and smoking, the designer’s AW16 collection put on a smouldering display of decaying glamour

“The girls long for it!” said Jeremy Scott last night, explaining why he had models vogue down his AW16 runway. “They have so much fun here. I think that’s kind of my role in fashion.” If there’s one thing a Jeremy Scott show isn’t, it’s dull. Since debuting his first collection for Moschino two years ago to this week, fashion’s reigning king of kitsch has injected a new energy into the Italian house’s legacy of pure, unadulterated fun. His shows have seen a variety of pop-infused themes including McDonald’s (AW15), Barbie (SS15) and roadworks – complete with an IRL car wash that actually sprayed bubbles (SS16). Models have roller-skated down the runway (Charlotte Free at SS15), danced (Anna Cleveland at SS16) and yesterday, walked down it wearing clothes that were on fire – almost literally.

But before Scott started burning the house down with his smouldering eveningwear, the collection had a definite sense of motorcycle girl gangs. Biker caps adorned several of the models’ heads along with black leather which he used to create biker-jacket-evening-gown hybrids. You’d be forgiven for being reminded of the army of gay bikers in Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising. With buckles, chains and handcuffs, the Moschino girl has toughened up this season; she may be fun, but she’s also hard as nails.  

Then came Scott’s pyro-couture. Smoke wafted from the garments, as if the models had just escaped from a burning building. Their gowns looked as if they had been eaten away by the flames; blackened by soot and ash, or else left with gaping holes. Even the invitations bore signs or fire damage, and came complete with a set of matches. The runway itself had large Persian rugs spread across the floor, disused and slightly charred golden frames stacked together, antique chairs arranged haphazardly, and a rather dilapidated looking piano.

Even the soundtrack, which included The Cramps’ “Let’s Get Fucked Up”, carried a sense of destruction. Speaking backstage, Scott said that he was thinking about The Bonfire of the Vanities – when, in 1497, the religious authorities collected and burned thousands of objects in Florence. “They rejected everything luxurious, everything glamorous,” he explained. “They burned the gowns, the make-up, the jewellery, the golden frames, the pianos, the musical instruments, the paintings, the manuscripts.” It was a vision of “decaying glamour” as he put it.

Blurring the line between fashion and furniture, and commenting on the OTT, completely impractical couture, one model wore a gown that resembled an ornate chandelier which proved so difficult to move in that she inched down the catwalk at a snail’s pace. In stark contrast, her counterparts danced, spun and twirled down the runway, pulling wildly over-the-top poses. Anna Cleveland nearly stole the show for her performing some of her now-trademark moves; flailing her long limbs around like some balletic, swan-like windmill as smoke poured out from under her cocktail dress.

Speaking backstage, Scott said that the smoking garments and “decaying glamour” theme were an indictment on the way we consume fashion. “It’s a comment on our addiction to fashion,” he said. “We just can’t get enough of it; it’s kind of like that nicotine vibe.” At a time when fast-fashion is being put under increased scrutiny, his comment was a timely one. The designer also weighed in on recent industry changes which have seen multiple brands eschew the traditional fashion week schedule for a see now/buy now model – something which Scott has been doing since his first Moschino show in 2014. “I think it’s amazing that I’ve opened this dialogue that’s actually completely changing the industry,” he said. “It’s something I did purely because I wanted to get clothes on people’s backs faster. It has become something that could be a sign of change.”