- Words Liam Cattermole
After years of many liberating themselves in Jeremy Scott’s Moschino, in light of this week's retirement announcement we look back at the designer and his legacy.
Jeremy Scott and Moschino: a match made in heaven? As Franco Moschino once said, “if you can’t be elegant, at least be extravagant”. It’s a mantra that Los Angeles resident Scott has lived by throughout his fashion reign, encouraging people to be bold and not take life too seriously. Liberating themselves in the director’s pop culture universe, for obsessives, only Jeremy’s bodacious designs will do, and subsequently, his decade-long legacy is partly defined by people’s desire to collect his pieces.
Alongside British renegades Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, when Scott burst onto the scene, he provided a shock value that high fashion hadn’t experienced. But beforehand, he was regularly bullied for his dress sense and once rejected from fashion school entirely. Despite the setbacks, nothing was going to get in the way of Jeremy’s dream. At 14, he started taking French lessons and finally got accepted to New York’s Pratt School of Design in 1992. Moving from the conservative south to NYC’s liberal idealism gave Jeremy the freedom to be himself and nurture the high glamour, high humour philosophy that’s graced his runways ever since.
In an interview with I-D for their I-Cons series, Jeremy tells the publication: “Being yourself is the greatest gift I could give”. The documentary exhibits the life his designs bring to those who wear them on the runway. But it’s not just supermodels that feel empowered when they don his pieces. Speaking to those who simply like to have fun, collectors of Jeremy’s Moschino didn’t amass the work for fanaticism, but more as a labour of love, and to give the clothing life beyond the runway.
Motivating us to look at the past, Moschino over the last decade brought pop culture to couture. This is why people resonated with the work: a propensity for collecting is often fuelled by nostalgia, and Jeremy’s novel takes on high fashion satisfied the archival itch of so many. From My Little Pony to Budweiser and SpongeBob SquarePants to Colgate, he regularly perpetuated the modern American dream by tapping people’s consumer psyche and did so in a way that felt fun.
Serving up a high-calorie debut, for AW14, Jeremy’s fast-food collection made McDonald’s the star of the show. Happy meal handbags, golden-arched sunglasses and work-wear visors were plated in the burger joint’s iconic red and yellow colourways. Trashy? Some might say so, but as a connoisseur of cheap chic, it’s what Franco Moschino would have wanted.
And who doesn’t love a happy meal toy? For many kids, it’s their first chance to collect something, to complete a set of figurines based on their favourite franchises. There’s something profound about the restaurant’s promise of fun that will have resonated with Jeremy, and as always, the designer relayed the nostalgia with flamboyancy.
Making Bugs Bunny an AW style icon a year later, Jeremy gave the Looney Tunes cast a much-needed makeover. Evoking the childhood of a 90s kid, he emblazoned Daffy, Sylvester and Taz across sports jerseys, knitwear and bomber jackets. These comforting nostalgic allusions featured on Moschino’s runway throughout his time at the helm. For the season just gone, he referenced the world’s inflation crisis with animal-themed, Disney-esque beach inflatables.
Much like the Maccy Ds collection, these shows allowed his fans to relive simpler times. Along with the thrill of hunting for his work, the sentimental codes are why devotees like Joey Arias have dedicated so much energy to his world. Amassing over 700 pieces in 10 years, the collector tells Vogue: “When I came upon Jeremy’s work, it awoke something in me, I think that little kid inside of me really fell in love with what was in front of him”.
Jeremy’s optimistic vision for Moschino will be greatly missed. He brought an energy to which so many were drawn and extended their personalities through his tongue-in-cheek charm. He’s already considering the next chapter and has created a new collection under his eponymous brand. What the future ultimately holds, and which fashion house will subject themselves to his wonderful world next, is still open for discussion. One thing’s for sure though: his most fervent collectors will be watching closely, waiting readily to see who gets the Jeremy Scott treatment next.