If you had any doubts that Jeremy Scott’s Moschino is hot, tonight’s show instantly killed them dead. It took a good 20 minutes to get past the throng at the door, the standing section was three rows deep, and the crowd whooped and hollered as the lights dimmed.
“Hiya, Barbie!” rang out from the loudspeakers, and delivering on the promise of the giant plastic comb that was included in the invitation, the first model emerged in a huge platinum blond wig, bubblegum pink lipstick, shrunken fuchsia leather jacket and miniskirt, and (what else?) mules. For Fall it was McDonald’s and Budweiser; this season it was Mattel’s iconic plastic toy that got Scott’s low-high treatment.
“Like every girl and gay boy, I loved Barbie,” Scott said backstage afterward, sporting a “Moschino for Ages 5 and Over” T-shirt. “It’s hard not to; she’s practically perfect,” he went on. “She’s a good big sister, she’s had every job in the world, worn every outfit. And it’s just joyful. Her and I share the same things: We just want to bring joy to people.”
We could problematize Barbie and her preposterous measurements (if she were human, she’d clock in at 36 inches by 18 by 33). We could bring up the body-image debate that roils around her, hotter than ever 55 years after she was invented. But who wants to be the lone sourpuss when everyone else seems to be having such a good time?
And this was a good time. See Charlotte Free, roller-skating to the very edge of the runway in “Moschino”-in-Barbie-bubble-letters logo bra, track shorts, and sweatband, then shimmying her way back. See the pool-floaty “Chanel” handbags. See the Spa Barbie French terry Perfecto and icon print maillot. Sure, there were holdouts in the crowd, and there were some industry bigwigs within Milan’s city limits who skipped the show altogether. But they were far outnumbered by the Jeremy Scott fanboys and -girls waiting on tiptoe at the exits.
Fashion hasn’t seen anything like this in years—maybe since Franco Moschino himself was thumbing his nose at the fashion elite. You heard yourself complain, “But some of it looked sort of cheap…” Or, “Where does he go from here?” Then you thought, “There she is, the sourpuss again.” And finally, “What’s wrong with me? Loosen up, have some fun. Feel the joy.”