“For an artist, it’s important to challenge yourself creatively,” says Moschino’s Jeremy Scott on presenting his latest collection via film for Milan Fashion Week AW21. This season, the 45-year-old American designer has dedicated his latest high-production showcase to the glamour of old Hollywood, peppered with his signature tongue-in-cheek humour, of course.
After almost two decades of running his own eponymous label, the Pratt Institute fashion graduate was appointed creative director of Moschino in 2013. Since then, his contribution to the Italian heritage label has been nothing short of extraordinary. Scott has been credited for reviving the brand, boosting sales and turning it into a cult favourite, not only through successful and unique collaborations with Barbie and H&M, but also A-list celebrity endorsements from the likes of Beyoncé, Madonna and Nicki Minaj.
Entitled Jungle Red!, the film revolves around vignettes and each scene comes with an array of looks to match, from a prairie cow-print dress worn by Miranda Kerr for an agricultural moment to a shopping safari with Amber Valletta shimmying in a gold mock-croc skirt suit equipped with a fake crocodile’s tail. Not only is it a star-studded affair, featuring notable supermodels from past and present (think Precious Lee, Joan Smalls, Karen Elson, Shalom Harlow and Carolyn Murphy, to name a few), but the collection is also an ode to the house’s founder Franco Moschino. “That element of surrealism within everything has a twisted Franco-touch that I love so much,” says Scott.
Warm, sharp-witted and an absolute pleasure to talk to, Vogue caught up with the designer via Zoom ahead of his show (set to go live on 25 February via the Moschino website) to talk about how the film became the focus of his latest collection, his utmost respect and appreciation for Franco Moschino and his supernatural ability to find the glamour in any situation.
What spurred your inspiration for the film this season?
I’ve been watching a lot of old movies and absorbing the glamour, sophistication and beauty. I thought about The Women [directed by George Cukor, 1939]—it’s one of my favourite films and one of my favourite fashion show scenes. I thought, ‘What if I took that as my basis and do a salon fashion show setting in a Hollywood way?’
The show was star-studded and featured some of our favourite girls of all time. Can you tell us what the casting direction was?
I included all the people I love, Precious [Lee], Winnie [Harlow], Joan [Smalls], Stella [Maxwell] and populated them with others I’ve had a long career with, such as Karen [Elson], and brought back favourites we love, including Carolyn [Murphy], Amber [Valletta] and Shalom [Harlow], who haven’t appeared in a show together for more than a decade. It’s fun to have them come and play characters.
The production values of the film are outstanding. Which collaborators did you work with and how were they integral to bringing your vision to life?
I wanted the old Hollywood Technicolour beauty and to capture its essence and lushness, that ultimate perfection. So for the sets, I worked with [set designer] Kristen Vallow, who understood the direction and helped bring the vision to life. My director of photography, Todd Banhazl is a genius at being able to create the look through lenses and lighting. I worked with Stephen Galloway on movement direction. We tried to capture different nuances with each girl, so there’s different texture in the way they presented and brought the clothes to life.
Did you know what the end product would look like before you finished the collection?
It was a lot more complicated because I had to conceptualise the film at the same time as designing the collection. This collection, in a linear traditional fashion show, probably wouldn’t make sense, and I would have never designed it in this way, but the end result speaks for itself.
The collection is riddled with Moschino-isms, so to speak. What were some of the key moments?
I wanted to take the iconic Moschino survival-kit jacket and turn it into a safari jacket with a hairbrush, little tweezers, lipstick and compact—that was one of my favourites. The windmill on Kirsty Hume’s head is my homage to Franco [Moschino’s] aeroplane hat.
You’ve got a knack for combining wit and humour. What’s your process for coming up with a narrative that involves both?
It’s natural, that’s just the way it comes out, I don’t really have much control over it. When I was writing the lines for the narrator, that’s the way I think and speak. It’s my sense of humour and playfulness, which served well here.
Your show is about film and Hollywood. Is there a film that best sums you up as a person?
I often think I’m like Pinocchio, I just want to be a real boy, but I don’t have any strings attached.
It’s your second season showing via film. What do you miss about live fashion shows and do you prefer them as moving-image?
I love creating live shows and I have a rich career in that, which I’m grateful for. But I’m also grateful for the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to show my creativity in a different way. I miss seeing my team and the models together, there is an energy in that that is different, but I do enjoy this new process immensely.
Last year was a difficult year for everyone, and there’s always a focus on the negative. For you, what is something to celebrate from 2020?
I’ve enjoyed decorating my house and creating floral arrangements. To be able to binge-watch TV is not something we normally have a chance to do, so why not do it? I’ve tried to find the joy in everything and not let anything be a thorn in my side.
Lastly, what’s your secret to finding glamour in any situation?
It’s an innate thing to want to bring the glamour. Since I was a child, my mum said I had the language of it, it was beyond her comprehension. I was just dramatic in that way and everything was made to seem more glamorous, even though we lived on a farm and were dirt poor. I’ve been living a version of that fantasy world my entire life and continue to do so.