Sunday, 14 November 2010


Above: Moschino Couture, 1988

In the 11 years between founding his eponymous fashion house in 1983, and passing away tragically young in 1994, Franco Moschino firmly cemented himself into the twentieth century fashion hall of fame, and left a lasting impact on the fashion world which is still felt today. From his political messages to his deliberate and unerringly effective subversion of the traditional codes and values of couture, Moschino never failed to shock, scandalise and, above all, delight his audiences.

There is something joyful and uplifting about Moschino's work, which at the same time was always highly technically accomplished and often carried more serious messages too, beneath the jaunty styling and upbeat energy. Aside from railing against trends, the fashion system and the stuffiness of haute couture, Moschino never missed an opportunity to spread pacifist messages or to raise awareness about AIDS, racism and environmental issues. Moschino's designs frequently seemed to be as much 'art' as they were 'fashion,' and were always heavily embedded in bright, colourful pop culture (the rave smiley, for example, is a perennial motif throughout Moschino's work).

Moschino had a cracking sense of humour, jauntily perching a model miltiary aircraft atop a model's head in place of a traditonal couture hat being just one example, while he also had a fascination with the surreal; the designer was sometimes referred to as the 'Dali of fashion,' with good reason. Moschino once said that "fashion is something you can laugh about forever, but in the end, it's the most difficult thing to laugh at because people take it so seriously." The battle to stop people taking fashion so seriously may not have been won, but without a doubt Moschino's attempts made the fashion world a richer, more joyful place.

Franco Moschino is one of my favourite fashion designers, along with Jean-Charles de Castelbajac who often worked in a similar vein to Moschino. In this post, I have put together the visual content which I have gathered from around the internet exploring Moschino's heritage.

Dress constructed from a man's jacket:


Stop the fashion system, from 1990:

Suit with mini-suit pockets, also from 1990:

Spring/summer 1990 collection shots:

From 1989:

Military jacket with new age patches, available from Swank Vintage:

Teddy bear couture dress..

Smiley seat in the NY store:

From the V&A archives:

'Garment bag' coat from the LACMA archives:

Camouflage suit:

Moschino even satirised fashion's 'made in Italy' obsession, with this Maid in Italy dress:

Christmas couture...

Nautical dress:

Trompe-l'oeil dress:

VagabondNYC are selling this NATURE-FUTURE suit:

Bustier with mask buttons:

Moschino offshoot lines (like Jeans and Cheap & Chic) have always been an important part of the brand, with their bright, upbeat prints (often featuring the Moschino logo as a motif) retaining a cult following even today. Loud Moschino pieces had a good showing in the mid to early '90s series of Absolutely Fabulous, alongside all the Lacroix and Gaultier:

Spring/summer 1990 CD print:

Moschino collaborated with Persol to make eyewear:

With in-built comb:

Says 'out of sight, out of mind':

Along with the 90s Versace revival which I blogged about a while back (here), vintage Moschino has been having quite a moment in London recently, largely thanks to Zone 7 Style, that specialises in 90s designer vintage. They have one of the best selections of Moschino print pieces around; all of the items below are, or were, available from them.

Wild Monopoly print jeans:

Apple Mac print jeans:

10th anniversary show video: