To celebrate Moschino’s 40th anniversary, four celebrated stylists were asked to create a collection inspired by Franco Moschino’s iconic designs in the period between 1983 — when the designer’s flair and creative genius broke into the monotony of Milanese fashion with his innovative and unusual clothes — and 1993, the year of the last fashion show before his untimely death.
Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, Katie Grand, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson and Lucia Liu are the creative souls who were given the task of putting together the collection, after the departure of previous creative director Jeremy Scott. Sitting in the front row was an attentive and vigiliant Alberta Ferretti — founder of the Aeffe group, the brand owner’s — enjoying the fruits of their labor, on such an important anniversary and with a fitting tribute to the brand’s founder.
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For the show, titled “40 Years of Love,” each stylist brought 10 personal interpretations of Moschino’s unmistakable style. “There is no freedom without chaos” was Franco Moschino’s favorite claim. And that is what Cerf de Dudzeele, Grand, Karefa-Johnson and Liu faithfully did with their show during Milan Fashion Week. The presentation was divided into four acts, each with its own mood, soundtrack, models and finale. All original, all different, but all with a common denominator: having fun and surprising as in the best of traditions when dealing with a brand like Moschino.
First to open the huge red curtain of the set design was the legendary Cerf de Dudzeele, formerly the powerful fashion director of U.S. Vogue and considered a pioneer of bringing street style to fashion magazines. It fell to her to reinterpret Franco’s most beloved classic garments, being the only one of the four to have collaborated with him. Cerf de Dudzeele chose suits, monochromatic total black or total white looks, pearls on a pair of jeans, crystal tops, mini skirts and head wraps à la Erykah Badu.
The second to take the stage was Karefa-Johnson, a powerful advocate for inclusive fashion. She sent only Black models down the runway (save for one), who wore her reinterpretations of garments from the early 1990s. Hers, as she explained, was a nostalgia moment with items including the brand’s iconic shopping bag, cowboy hats, maxi earrings, polka dots, chains and crocheted garments. The third, Liu, former styling director of Harper’s Bazaar China, sent out a T-shirt with the words “Protect me from the Fashion System” and to close the section a pink evening dress adorned with bows and roses with a gray top with the words “Good taste does not exist.”
The fourth, Grand, London-based founder of Perfect Magazine, took from the past the use of slogans that the founder liked to draw on garments to send important messages. Grand invented one, “Loud Luxury,” brought to the runway by dancers choreographed by Wayne McGregor of Britain’s The Royal Ballet.
A fifth act was entrusted to Laura Marzadori, first violin of the Teatro alla Scala, who, in her elegant black evening gown, played Gloria Gaynor’s masterpiece “I Am What I Am,” a manifesto of freedom and many civil rights battles, a song beloved by Franco Moschino, who used it for the finale of the 1986 Fall-Winter fashion show.
The show’s finale was a recognition of the struggles and charitable campaigns that the maison’s founder supported throughout his artistic journey. T-shirts with nonconformist slogans were always a central element of his philosophy, with raising awareness about AIDS a constant commitment. Therefore, the grand finale was dedicated to a limited edition T-shirt that reads, “Borrow me – Wear me – Hug me – Love me.” One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
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