moschino's literal works of art
Though the inspiration this season was Picasso, Jeremy Scott’s approach is distinctly Warholian.
Jeremy Scott is perhaps the only designer who flips the switch so dramatically from season to season. His Moschino previous show in Milan was a pastiche of The Price Is Right, television’s longest-running gameshow. This time around, it was the paintings and many muses of Pablo Picasso. But while Moschino SS20 felt more Sotheby’s than QVC, both reference points are invested with equal importance in the high-low equilibrium of the Scott’s universe. Paintings came to life in the kind of attention-grabbing statements that make the designer’s shows so memorable and viscerally striking on a two-dimensional screen. On a runway that snaked through giant gold frames, Kaia Gerber came out in Scott’s take on Picasso’s cubist sculpture of a guitar; Bella Hadid was a harlequin-checked Pierrot clown; Joan Smalls was a matador with painted-on embellishment; Cara Taylor appeared as a nude painting, frame and all.
Often the women in Picasso’s life have been written out of his story, left in the shadow of the 21st century’s most famous artist. Scott was looking at them — Fernande Olivier, Irène Lagut, Olga Khokhlova, Marie-Thérèse Walter, Dora Maar, Françoise Gilot, Jacqueline Roque to name a few — and wanted to celebrate their contributions to Picasso’s career. As a result, the weeping women in the Spanish artist’s colourful paintings became powerful Moschino pin-ups. There’s no mistaking that these women refuse to be written out of anything — they command your attention and the clothes frame them as authors of their own narrative.
Though the inspiration was Picasso, Scott’s approach is distinctly Warholian. His work touches on deeper issues, much in the way that Warhol slyly described himself as “deeply superficial.” It’s unlikely that Scott would ever tout himself as a critic, but his shows are often thinly-veiled explorations of what’s going on in the world — his gameshow spectacle was a message about hyper-consumerism, and Moschino’s resort SS20 Halloween-themed show at Universal Studios alluded to the horror of American politics. If his latest show was about anything, it may be the tension between art’s perceived seriousness and fashion’s perceived frivolity, and the concept of artistic craft versus superficial glamour.
“I think people need to get over the loftiness of when you call something art,” Scott said after his show. “I am an artist — I just work through the medium of fashion, through apparel and models and the scenography of a show, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m an artist. It’s an old silly argument that people have had for so long.” We couldn’t agree more.
Photography Mitchell Sams