Franco Moschino is not interested in creating a novel way to transform the silhouette or inventing the latest trend, his clothes are unapologetically Moschino! Moschino’s position in the fashion industry has always been tense. Moschino is highly critical of the whole fashion system, he seeks to question and challenge it. He is a paradox in which he is both for and against fashion. He is relentless in his criticism yet he is the height of fashion. He used bold and brash statements and conspicuous provocative slogans. He would use wit, irony and sarcasm to poke fun at the fashion system. He would play with double meaning, asking ‘Ready to where?’ a play on Ready-to-Wear. He had matador jackets emblazoned with ‘Bull chic’ He had a shirt making the post-modern statement, ‘Too much irony’, both meaning ironic and also ironing. These were playful puns but very revealing for the time.
Moschino managed to scandalise and cause shock wherever he went. He has been sued numerous times by the big fashion houses for flagrantly parodying them. Famously he was sued by Chanel for copying the iconic Chanel suit, defacing it embroidering the words ‘Expensive Jacket’ in gold thread, on to the back of the jackets, an obvious critique of the ostentatious display of wealth in European fashion. In one particular outfit he mocked the expensive fur coat. He decorated a classically cut coat with a trim of teddy bears. This highlighted the ludicrousness of draping yourself in a dead animal. He was a leader in the promotion of not using real fur in fashion making a faux fur line called ‘fur for fun’ in the nineties.
Moschino also launched the first environmentally fashion line in 1994 shortly before his death, called Ecouture. The prints were all made with environmentally sound plant dyes. Furthermore,all of the profits from the Moschino house go to aids charities, which was sadly the disease that ended his life too soon. This business model carries on today.
Franco Moschino started his career making sketches and fashion illustrations for Gianni Versace after he graduated from Accademia delle Belle Arti in Milan, studying fine Art. He then was chief designer at Cadette 1977-1982, before setting up his own label in 1983. This was followed by his Cheap and Chic collection. He was quickly embraced by the fashion industry soon because of his prodigious talent. Moschino became a massive fashion brand turning over millions of pounds. The very fashionistas that he mocked with his terse slogans suddenly flocked to buy his clothes. He was the most chic thing. Yet Moschino still managed to maintain a detached, an outsider, not taking his position too seriously.
It was fashions greatest loss when Moschino died in 1994. Although the label continued with Rosella Jardini as their head designer, the house has lost a lot of it’s prickly wit. It would be impossible to even try and recreate the magic of Franco moschino, yet Jardini strictly follows the philosophy and aesthetic set by Moschino when he was alive. Jardini recently said, ‘“Our philosophy is simple – chic is freedom. The secret of style lies in combining clothes and wearing them for pleasure.” Her clothes are fun and humerous, without so much of the darkness as Franco Moschino. Yet her designs are thoughtful and not frivolous. Now taking the lead with the designs has been Gianfranco Ferré has been. The designs remind us not to take fashion too seriously and enjoy it!It is a young and fun label, Spring Summer 11 was a good example of this with graphic spots and stripes and featuring little gold teddy bears.