halloween came early with moschino in hollywood
Jeremy Scott gets spooky.
Photography Marco Ovando
There couldn’t be a more perfect location for Jeremy Scott to stage a Moschino show than Universal Studios, the home of all things Hollywood, camp and kitsch. Scott took over Colonial Street — AKA Wisteria Lane in Desperate Housewives, and the backdrop to so many films and shows including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Casper. It’s the quintessential American suburb with perfectly manicured lawns and white picket fences. Yet every house was eerily empty with a sense of foreboding in the air, heightened by the sinister soundtrack from Rosemary’s Baby, flickering lights and smoke hovering on the ground. Backstage, in one of the houses, Jeremy Scott was upbeat and joyous, the antithesis to a scary fashion villain. “It’s so surreal in its beauty of mundanity,” he explained of the setting. “It’s not special, but it’s so idyllic. Those settings are where something spooky always happens. People coming out of the backyards while you’re trick-or-treating.”
Scott’s favourite horror flick is Scream, so it was only natural that Suki Waterhouse (dressed as a blonde-bobbed Drew Barrymore) would open the show by running out of a house and banging on every door on the street, campily screaming for help. Models followed, but there wasn’t a linear line-up. Instead it felt like trick-or-treaters (or ‘trick-or-chic’-ers, as one sweatshirt read) wandering the streets on a regular misty evening. The show offered some brilliant ideas for costumes — Charlotte Free was a Marilyn-esque figure being grabbed by the hand of King Kong — but there were plenty of irreverent everyday propositions too: sweatshirts with taffeta prom-dress sleeves, tailoring with sequinned cobweb embroidery, leather jackets with pumpkin cut-outs, slip dresses with blood-red crystal ‘scars’.
Jeremy Scott’s Moschino shows have become cultural events in themselves, where downtown kids and celebrities get dressed-up in Scott’s wacky-chic creations and come along for a show. It’s never about severely elegant, politically-tinged or seriously chic clothes. Scott would find that too boring. In fact, it’s not really about clothes at all. Katy Perry wore a Moschino cheeseburger costume to the Met Gala and Moschino’s fans will always find something to wear in the stores. “Sometimes fashion people have a very cynical approach and they think, is this really real or genuine?” he reflected before the show, surrounded by models dressed up as taffeta-clad witches and scarecrows in hay-strewn shirting. “I don’t know what their hesitation is or why you have to have such serious fashion to make it legitimate. But that’s not my role. I’m just going to keep giving fantasy.”
This show felt particularly zeitgeisty, not just because of the upcoming release of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and the return of Stranger Things, but because Jeremy is having his moment this year. The Notes on Camp exhibition, currently on display at The Met, shines a glittering light on a sensibility that Scott, and Franco Moschino before him, has innately championed with wit, pastiche and spectacle. Camp is what he does best and it’s who he is (dressed as a werewolf, he filmed a promo for the show, screened on Universal Studio shuttle buses). Scott grew up on a farm in Kansas, and even interned in the Moschino press office once he moved to New York as a teenager. Now he’s the creative visionary behind the house and the arbiter of a very modern kind of Hollywood glamour. His world is about fantasy, irony and showmanship, not entirely unlike… Hollywood! Jeremy Scott is certainly not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
The show also marked a continuation of his exploration of on-screen pop culture. In January, he staged a show in Rome’s iconic Cinecittà studios, where Fellini and Visconti filed several of their masterpieces. His following show in Milan was a TV shopping-channel extravaganza, complete with one of the most memorable fashion show sets of the season. For this show, Scott brought the Italian brand back to his home (he is based in Los Angeles) and it was apt timing for him to explore the concept of horror. As a tour guide pointed out on the shuttle bus taking guests through the movie sets of Universal Studios, once upon a time it was enough to scare people with monsters on screens — but as the world became more complicated, horror became more abstract and gruesome. Today, old-school horror films can just seem campy or comical, which makes them fun. Besides, we’re living in scary times as it is — if we really want to frighten ourselves, we can just turn on the news.