Rage Against the Moschino

November 8th, 2016

Moschino has recently been criticised for its Spring/Summer 2017 collection after the ‘capsule-themed’ line, designed by the enigmatic Jeremy Scott, was condemned for being in poor taste.

The range, which includes bags shaped as over-sized medication bottles and t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Just Say MoschiNo”, has been lambasted by members of the medical profession, drug experts and the families of victims of drug abuse for projecting a ‘cool’ image of drugs, promoting substance abuse and attempting to profit from drug culture. Whilst some have commended the collaboration for clever satire and shining a light on a taboo topic, critics broadly share the view that the collection has been insensitively executed and poorly timed. The launch of the ‘capsule collection’ has come amidst a backdrop of continuing drug problems in the US. As a result, thousands have signed petitions to have the collection removed from public sale. Pressure on Moschino in the US has also built from the retailer side, as Nordstrom became the first department store to remove the collection from its stores earlier this month. However in the UK perhaps retailers are more robust, or rather just more commercially savvy, with Selfridges and Harrods continuing to stock the lines.

moschinoThis is not the first time that Moschino and Jeremy Scott have courted controversy. In 2012, Scott was criticised for his collaboration with Adidas on the Roundhouse Mid “Handcuffs”. The trainers, which are connected to hoops resembling legcuffs, were criticised for their connotations with slavery. Additionally, Moschino was criticised earlier this year for its risqué ‘smoking-themed’ collection. The collection, which included an iPhone case in the shape of a cigarette packet, was condemned for bringing smoking back into fashion – both literally and figuratively.

The link between fashion and controversy is not reserved solely to Scott and Moschino. The late Alexander McQueen was also known for his controversial runway shows, most notably the “Highland Rape” Autumn/Winter 1995 collection. French Connection’s use of its “FCUK” slogan in the 1990s was another highly charged decision and it had to weather many legal and advertising challenges over its use, although ultimately survived to make them a household name.

The amount of publicity that Moschino’s ‘capsule collection’ has generated has been enormous. For example, Google generated 2,160,000 results for the search item ‘Moschino Spring 2017’, compared with a mere 388,000 for ‘Prada Spring 2017’. In the age of social media, where the amount of ‘buzz’ that something is generating is often conflated with its intrinsic value, and where ideas and concepts continue to be measured by hash-tags and views, establishing a ‘talking point’ is invaluable. Given the success of their other daring collections, either through subverting icons of ubiquity in 2014 with their McDonalds iPhone cases and handbags or challenging the topic of ‘gender stereotyping’ as part of last year’s Barbie-themed collection, the question is: how will Moschino push the boundaries further in its next collection?

By: Krishan Neelendra
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