Moschino’s New York State of Mind

Monday night was all “New Yawk” at Moschino’s first show in the Big Apple. If the giant branded Metro Pass cards mailed to guests as invitations and the choice of venue hadn’t made that clear enough, the collection certainly did. Hosted on subway cars at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn, which took over a year of negotiation to lock in, creative director Jeremy Scott presented the label’s pre-fall 2020 womenswear and fall 2020 menswear collections. Far away from Los Angeles and Milan, the Italian luxury house’s home turf, Scott stepped out of a comfort zone - both geographically and aesthetically speaking – to showcase an array of styles which echoed many facets of New York culture.

The designer, who lived in Manhattan when attending Pratt Institute, is no stranger to the city’s energy and it’s incredibly diverse sense of fashion. “I wanted to offer a little bit of everything,” the designer explained about the show. “A round-the-clock set of ensembles for city girls and guys who aren’t afraid to go from the ballroom to the back room, then watch the sun come up over the East River.” From including elements of the Lower East Side’s grungy aesthetics to referencing Uptown’s chic by way of evening gowns and tweed suits, Scott’s ambitious goal was to leave no corner of New York unrepresented in his rich and entertaining line of looks.

Occasionally, while playing with a high and low motif, some of the looks felt like a stretch as far as references to the city. Yet, as it is often the case with Scott’s execution of overarching concepts, a closer look brought them right back into the designer’s envisioned “ensembles”. So where, for instance, a giant Moschino Couture label might have felt out of place, it was in fact merely a finish on a slick leather jacket or on an otherwise somber trench coat, both typical pieces of urban uniforms. In other cases the effect was reversed and what might have initially looked like your typical colorful gown or cocktail dress, perfect for an evening outing in the Soho, was in fact, at a second glance, anything but typical due to its track-suit construction.

It’s his playful over-the-top take on a nineties-era, Harlem, hip-hop aesthetic however that became the center of attention. In that hyper-realism in your face manner the designer is known for, the legendary borough’s hip-hop fashion was brought into Scott's maximalist universe resulting in dramatically oversized cocoon-like puffer jackets, slouching overalls, enormous-fitted baseball caps, exaggerated chunky jewelry, overly large bags in the shape of cigarette lighter or (a real size) boombox, shell suits, and a gigantic backpack. It’s likely some of these elements – namely the overuse of urban tropes like layered gold chains and Timberland silhouettes – will keep some critics busy these next few weeks as they ruminate about cultural appropriation.

But to Scott’s credit, the macro aspect of it made sense as part of the collection as a whole and it’s not like he’s been known to shy away from being visually polarizing and contentious in the past. Whether as a logical aesthetic continuation of his recent successful collaboration with H&M, a wink at oversize trends, or a more serious nod to mainstream’s current obsession with urban music and its love-hate relationship with hip-hop culture since the 90’s, it ultimately felt well intended. After all, everything else - from the full MTA experience (including the all too familiar "stand clear of the closing doors” announcement) to the 'car dancers' who closed the show - signaled a love letter of sorts to New York, a place where Scott's style and craft blossomed.

As the show’s rap soundtrack – which included some Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, for good measure - boomed through the subway speakers and the likes of Joan Smalls, Meghan Roche, Stella Maxwell, Winnie Harlow, Grace Elizabeth, and Taylor Hill weaved in and out of the train, the collection, did seem respectfully ‘right at home’. As stated by Scott in the shows notes: “There’s nowhere else in the world where you get that kind of energy and magic!” We couldn’t agree more, especially when it compliments his looks and showmanship so well.

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