Words by Ella Sangster
Thursday signalled the debut of Italian luxury label Moschino on the official New York Fashion Week schedule. With the collection titled ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ the show was hosted in a rain-spattered Bryant Park and set against a backdrop of floral displays and a hedge cut to spell out the brand's logo.
In line with the set, the opening looks featured floral and animal prints, plaids, and bright pastel colours, and were inherently inspired by the preppy styles of the 1960s. The demure silhouettes were cut to seductive lengths featuring tweed mini-skirts, cropped blazers, and fitted bustiers. Paired with Mary Janes, chunky acrylic jewellery, and micro-handbags, the ensembles embraced the aesthetic of a vintage garden party with a modern twist.
The start of the show was comparatively toned down by the usual standard of Jeremy Scott for Moschino, with the subtle embroidered animals serving as the most extravagant detail. Then, a change in footwear signalled a shift in the show's direction, with the reserved looks giving way to kitschy designs in quilted satin and adorned with sequins and stuffed animals. The psychedelic-style pieces paired with fluffy boleros and safety-pin earrings served as a stark contrast to the sleek designs of the former half of the show and reflected a seemingly day-to-night intention within the collection.
Speaking to Vogue backstage, Scott, who has often been dubbed the ‘King of Camp,’ described the show as “It’s very ladies who lunch, but it's also nursery rhymes, so it's baby lady.” The child-like theme was continued with the cartoonish embroidery and a beaded headdress that was undoubtedly inspired by a child’s nursery mobile. This youthful notion gave way to arguably one of the show's most iconic moments, with Gigi Hadid strutting the runway in a sequinned dress, her arm adorned to look like the head and trunk of a caricature elephant, and whipping out a baby bottle mid-walk.
The collection was a nod to the iconic silhouettes of the brand's early days under Franco Moschino, but despite the beautiful construction and intricate detailing, the combination of power suits and stuffed-animals left guests and critics confused. The featuring of cartoonish animals, beaded accessories, and a handbag designed to emulate a sand-castle-bucket meant the latter half of the show felt like an entirely different collection than the first half.
However, Scott has been heralded as a front runner of innovation within the industry, and beyond its obvious aesthetic the show was reflective of a greater message and push for active inclusion on fashion runways. The emergence of Aaron Phillip, a model who has been a strong advocate for disability and LGBTQ inclusion in fashion, on the runway highlighted that Scott’s intended impact of the show extended beyond his designs. Speaking to models.com in 2019 Phillip related “accessibility affects my entire life and is a huge problem in fashion. It’s needed more than anything at all. I’ve been privileged to not have the experience of feeling uncomfortable because of my disability, but when it comes to my goals such as doing runway and certain jobs, it feels impossible.” Through this season's show, Scott is actively forging a wind of change in the fashion industry. Phillip was accompanied by a plethora of top-models, including Precious Lee, Stella Maxwell, and Yasmin Wijnaldum.
Unfortunately, in the eyes of critics the change-making casting and supermodel lineup could not save the show, with Vogue reporting the show “missed on both fun and poignancy.” The complex mixture of sixties nostalgia and modern kindercare culminated in a collection that felt underwhelming and lacking in the usual ‘wow factor’ that Jeremy Scott brings to Moschino.