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10 March 2014

Would you like that bag to-go, ma'am?

Picture by Tommy Ton

So when I think of trends, I think of clothes, accessories, colors, patterns, eras. I think of shapes, styles and what shade of red will permeate the high street in circa three months, maybe less. Fashion Week however had a slightly different trend in mind; food. Or if you want to read that unto a deeper level, consumerism. Materialism. The thing that, in essence, founds the fashion industry.

It started at Moschino under Jeremy Scott's new reign, but what did we expect from the man who made like Red Bull and gave sneakers wings? I first saw it through instagram, as most of us see things for the first time nowadays, and conceded that I needed a while to think about it. I wasn't sure, and while it seemed like the rest of the world applauded Scott's bravery and perhaps even clever commentary on the overlap between pop culture, fast consumerism, Spongebob (?) and fashion, I grew more and more weary of the collection. It didn't sit right to see such an iconic brand changed so drastically in the space of minutes; suddenly, I was right back with Saint Laurent.

If Moschino was fading a little in recent seasons, Scott made sure that halted. Immediately. The collection was ironic, right from the 'M' emblazoned get go, to the cereal box couture finale. It was comedic, it was provocative. People talked. The phone cases and various other bits were available the next day; they flew off the shelf. They littered the streetstyle. More people talked. Job done, yes? The collection was brilliant in parts, it ensured that Moschino no longer used it's position as an iconic, established brand as a crutch and pushed it past it's boundaries. It stayed true to Franco Moschino's love of irony and comedy. The references to Macdonalds were perhaps a (not so subtle) nod to the materialism that the fashion industry is grounded in; an acceptance that we are not above money, the
 industry relies on societies growing consumerism and commercialization to sustain itself. To stand out. This is the society that fashion exists in today, the one it must be a part of. The Spongebob, Macdolands, Cereals; they were smart references, but I can't help but feel they were also a publicity stunt to get Moschino back at the forefront of our minds.

Scott is, and will always be, a bold designer. His work is over the top by nature, and it works at his label. He is the, arguably rare, type of designer who puts the fun back into fashion; he is, in many senses, what Moschino as a brand is about. Despite this, his first collection: it felt gimmicky, it felt like he got so carried away with injecting himself into the collection that he forgot about Moschino as a brand. The allusions to pop culture were interesting, relevant but arguably overdone; it got people talking, but it felt like that was it's only aim. Publicity before creativity; the middle of the show was brilliant but the spongebob slogans felt overdone and the collection was disconnected. There was no theme that carried through; the show could have been three or four entirely different collections. The show could have been a Jeremy Scott show had Moschino not been (admittedly, cleverly) twisted from the Macdonalds' logo at every turn. However, the issue for me lied not in the individual pieces, but the culmination of them. The fact that the idea was brand relevant and interesting, but the execution felt too much like a publicity stunt to embody the very dismissal of traditional fashion and media that Franco Moschino seemed to whole heartedly invest in his brand.

Perhaps I'm missing the point though; perhaps the show was intended to be over the top, extended, unlinked; the antithesis of what we expected, what we expect from a fashion show. If that's the case, Lagerfeld took a similar approach at Chanel; turning his stage into a supermarket, a more outspoken celebration of consumerism and it's place within the industry. A juxtaposition between luxury 2.55 bags wrapped in everyday cling film boxes to suggest that maybe as a society so hungry for innovation and materials, we no longer distinguish between luxury and everyday in the same way. Does that leave designers in a positive or negative position? The clothes themselves as usual didn't appeal to me (Chanel accessories are where the magic happens in my opinion) but unlike Scott's lack of coherency, Lagerfelds range of themes were all based on the idea that fashion is a supermarket, as if the setting was enough of a hint. Everything we do in fashion is materialistic; Lagerfeld debunks
the assumption that this has to be a bad thing and instead shows how the increasing effect of rising consumerism is what offers us fashion. It is the basis of what allows us to define who we are, unconstrained by the limits of what we can own. Fashion is becoming fast, easy; we might as well buy into that.

But Chanel, like Moschino, still left me wondering how much of the ideas behind a collection lie in the need for publicity; consumerism may support the industry, but does it damage the artistic integrity of it? What do we sacrifice for those Facebook shares, the Instagram likes and the money that ends up in our banks? But it's possible that by forming an almost modern art like sartorial commentary on the industry, Lagerfeld and Scott force us to ask ourselves what we expect from fashion. Maybe the commercialization of fashion week, turning design into publicity because people love a gimmick, is a response to the fact that we want it all, we want it now and we definitely want a show.

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  1. Very interesting! I kind of agree, the Moschino collection just felt like Jeremy Scott really, but the Chanel one was much more nuanced... I wrote a little about it here actually:
    Love your blog and your writing Camilla!
    Annabel x

  2. I have just read your post, and I enjoyed it a lot. I love to know other people's point of views on different things. I believe I share the same opinion on current achievements of the fashion industry, I think it will always be in the process of reaching its boiling point, but will never come to it. At this point right now it has become extremely and ridiculously gimmicky and in fact with no added value for people. I would say fashion has become more of a huge factory producing absolutely everything what is capable of 'feeding' people's 'materialistic hunger'. Nowadays fashion is dictated by the current state of people throughout the world, we want it, we get it. Everybody is happy :)
    I love your blog a lot, I think you are doing an amazing job! wish you a very nice week! <3 xoxo

  3. lov e this post a lot babe !!! part of me agree part of me not (a bit) but it's nice about people - different point of views :) anyway - love the moschino iCase, just the only thing i llike about this collection

  4. I 100% agree about the Moschino. It was fun and I saw the nods to pop culture and what not, but there really wasn't anything uniquely "Moschino" about it. It might as well have been the Jeremy Scott show part ii.


  5. Jennifer LMarch 11, 2014

    I don't really have anything to add - I think you're spot on - but I did want to applaud your writing. Your writing voice is strong, eloquent, and simple, which is definitely important when tackling big theoretical issues like this.


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