Breathe out: H&M’s latest designer collaboration is as buzz-worthy as ever, with Jeremy Scott, the pop-obsessed, effervescent creative director of Moschino, bringing the verve. By Alice Birrell.
H&M’s latest designer collaboration is as buzz-worthy as ever, with Moschino’s Jeremy Scott bringing the verve.
You have to wonder about Jeremy Scott. If he wasn’t born into this epoch, his talent might have been completely wasted. A hip-hop Mickey Mouse, alien Jackie O, huggable teddy bear sneakers, lightning bolts cracking their way across a dress are all in his daily vernacular – just think of the wasted Instagram traction if he was born much earlier. It’s something that hasn’t escaped high-street giant H&M, pegging the canny Moschino creative director and his way with high-vis iconography as the next in its line-up of designer collaborations.
“Erdem was all about beauty and romance, which was totally right for the time. Now it’s about boldness and energy, and Moschino is the perfect brand for it,” says H&M creative advisor Ann-Sofie Johansson, referring to last year’s sell- out offering from Erdem Moralioglu. True to word, an acid marigold mini-skirt, gold leather pants, chunky gold accessories and hyper-cropped denim jackets emblazoned with ‘Moschino’ in capital letters, could be described as nothing but.
And if it all sounds like a lot, that’s forever been Scott’s angle. Since leaving the American Midwest for Paris before LA, he was seemingly on a collision course with Moschino from the start. “I’ve always known I was an outsider in fashion, the same as Franco Moschino,” he says of the label’s namesake, who held a mirror up to the self-aggrandising side of the industry. Using surrealist visuals – playing cards, question marks, stacks of house bricks – and quotidian motifs, the original Moschino revelled in poking fun at the tropes of trends and fashion cycles.
Scott has similarly adopted an outsider’s stance, from his solo work under his own name to his five years at Moschino. “I don’t spend my time worrying about the fashion industry,” he explains, an attitude that has spawned creations such as life-size paper-doll gowns or bags made to look like a packet of Marlboro reds printed with ‘fashion kills’, both intended to needle the darker sides of the industry. Pop culture iconography has become defining – Barbie, chocolate bars, My Little Pony and those Jacqueline Onassis clones from autumn/winter ’18/’19 made to look like aliens (Scott perhaps asking: was she?) – and are his way to either mock or laud them all. The fun is in never quite knowing which.
In this collaboration, named Moschino [tv] H&M, he’s seemingly leaning toward the latter. Mickey Mouse T-shirts, oversized American baseball jerseys, MTV-logoed sweatpants and trompe l’oeil chains embroidered onto black jersey hoodies make up the main visual language
“I LOVE THAT KIND OF THING, WHERE HUMOUR ACTS AS A PUNCTUATION POINT”
of the men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. “Mickey Mouse is everything to me. I love working with iconography in my collections,” says Scott, who has always been into cartoons – note the gobstopper-sized buttons on bubble jackets – and things that are instantly recognisable for their accessibility. “It’s the same with a stop sign or Mickey Mouse. It goes beyond language … there’s an instant understanding of what I’m trying to say,” he explains. “When you see this hip-hop Mickey Mouse, you know exactly what it’s saying.”
A case of ‘if-you-know-then-you-know’, it won’t be a surprise that his creations appeal to a younger audience. He counts Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Katy Perry among his celebrity clientele. His outré designs in Crayola brights seem made for stage and red carpet and are noted sometimes by journalists more for their obvious flair than for their message, not that Scott minds. “What matters to me are the fans. The fans are the reason I do what I do.”
While he might have questioned the pace of fast fashion in the past, the democratic nature of accessible luxury is appealing to him here. “Jeremy calls himself the people’s designer, so for him it’s a dream come true to have his collection be available to so many people,” says Johansson.
And before anyone queues up for a sensible jacket come the November 8 launch, understand the Moschino wink. “There are three different jackets that I love so much,” Scott says of the collection. “Especially the cropped padded jacket. It’s so ridiculous because it’s a padded jacket but it’s cropped so high, it’s not really keeping you warm. And yet it looks so good! I love that kind of thing, where humour acts as a punctuation point.”
Moschino [tv] H&M sweater, $169, and earrings, $60.
Moschino [tv] H&M denim jacket, $249, and denim skirt, $100. Moschino [tv] H&M puffer jacket, $249, puffer skirt, $100, and earrings, $60.