7 March 2016
Bonfires of the Vanities. Overture from Moschino
Want some history lessons from Jeremy Scott at Moschino? Real magic happened tonight. Backstage Scott was talking about “bonfires of the vanities”, in Italian, “il falò delle vanità,” but he wasn’t referring to the Brian De Palma film or even the Tom Wolfe book. Scott was riffing on the 15th-century Dominican monks who took on the Renaissance, leading a mob through the city of Florence, burning objects of beauty art, books, furniture and clothing. Of course, the Renaissance prevailed, but those monks left a trail of ruin along the way.
It was a great setup, one that allowed Scott to go deep with the visual puns he loves. Some evening dresses looked charred with burn marks circling ragged cutouts; others literally smoked as the models made their way around the runway, thanks to portable smoke machines. A little shimmy of the hips or a shake of the ball skirt, and fogs of vapor appeared. Brilliant! “That’s a first,” Scott announced backstage. Special props for milliner Stephen Jones’s singed net veils and the cigarette holder chapeau with glowing crystal embers.
Jeremy Scott, spin doctor extraordinaire, had built a pyre. The aim? Setting Milan alight. To that end, figuratively speaking, the first few looks revisited Franco Moschino staples: giant satin bows in purple, yellow and pink were secured with paste brooches and contrasted with zip-adorned black leather. A pink strapless dress with a leather bodice and an Eighties swagger was paired with a leather cap, 'Warrior Milano’ printed across its crown. A black velvet mini dress with an off the shoulder satin collar was accessorised with chains and a skull-and-cross-bones, prize-fighter belt.
Most beautiful was a silver sequined dress with a cobalt blue bow, and burn marks across it, rendered in sheer gauze. It was the most literal summation of the feeling of beautiful decay that has been creeping across fashion week this month – and one which took Erdem’s reference of Hitchcock’s Rebecca a logical step further. Erdem’s pre-fire Mrs Danvers wore a tweedy black suit; Scott’s was on the roof at Manderley, burning in her finery. If the fashion industry is in crisis, torn between a six-month delivery window and a buy-now-wear-now model, Scott’s answer was brazen: burn it down and start again.