MILAN, Italy — It feels surprisingly good to tap out the words "hardhat handbag". So much alliterative joy. But Jeremy Scott exists to make the world feel good. The invitation to the new Moschino show arrived with a bright yellow hardhat. Smiles at the ready, his audience entered an arena where electronic highway signs warned 'Dangerous Couture Ahead' and 'Clothed for Construction'. A traffic sign advised us there were “Models Xing”.
And soon they were. First was Lexi Bolling in a cropped blonde wig, a tailored, fluoro suit and Perspex kitten heels, looking a bit like a psychedelic Edie Sedgwick. Her mannequin colleagues followed in equally ladylike, equally twisted outfits. Pussybow blouses, crocheted separates, swagged chintz… a tan trench was supremely elegant but for the 'Caution' sign across its back. One otherwise perfectly turned out, inside-the-Beltway hostess wore a traffic cone hat on her head, like a runaway Devo.
These warped lady looks took us straight back to Jeremy’s origin story, where models once walked in broken-down pumps. The emergency tape heels he showed here would have remedied that situation lickety split. Scott is nothing if not a supreme literalist. Slippery When Wet was — natch — printed on a wet look t-shirt dress. But that directness accounts for his appeal to the fans wrestling to get into his show on Thursday night, the K-Poppers who throng with phones held high, to the pop superstars for whom he offers an instant, graphic, and — most of all — social-media-friendly overhaul.
They love that there is no "too far" for Scott. The under-construction theme was translated into CAUTION tape as a huge bow on dress, or a spanner as a shoulder strap. Belts were — what else? — fully laden tool belts. A few perverse souls in the audience recalled Divine howling for her needle-nose pliers in Female Trouble, the ultimate fantasy for the home handyman.
The finale proposed Scott as a natural heir not to Franco Moschino but to Thierry Mugler. It was a campy showgirl extravaganza — Vegas-ready models parading through a carwash in clouds of bubbles. Hanne Gaby Odiele was wrapped in a couture galleon of a gown, scissored out of plastic. A flaring prom dress featured Caddy tail fins, illuminated (even Mugler never managed that effect). Another dress was draped with a neon carwash sign.
And yet, in the middle of that synthetic farrago, there was a plastic mac, printed with hard sells, that you could imagine blowing out of the stores next Spring. Spawned in the land of CocaCola, the Golden Arches and Andy Warhol, Scott knows how to shill for his product.