A Portrait of Jeremy Scott

How did Jeremy Scott capitalise on his ‘aura’ whilst simultaneously crowning himself the Founding Father of (21st century) Fast Fashion? 

The campaign artwork for Jeremy Scott’s 2018 Moschino X H&M collection, at H&M’s Regent Street flagship store, London, 2 November 2018. Photo taken by author

‘Some company recently was interested in buying my “aura”. They didn’t want my product. They kept saying, “We want your aura”. I never figured out what they wanted. But they were willing to pay a lot for it. So then I thought that if somebody was willing to pay that much for it, I should try to figure out what that is.’ -Andy Warhol

I am unsure as to whether Andy Warhol personally believed he was successful in ‘figuring out’ the marketability of his ‘aura’, but he most certainly triumphed in utilising its inherent mystique to cement his place within the Western art historical canon. If you see a Warholian work of art, the shadow of his authorship looms over its image: his soup cans, his saturated Marilyns, his acidic hibiscus flowerpieces—each undeniably drenched in the saccharine scent of his ‘Pop’ personhood. In the figure of Jeremy Scott, I am reminded of Warhol’s mass-appealing ‘aura’. However, in Scott’s case, his aura’s RRP is far more affordable, and by next season (or by the time his next collaboration drop hits), it will have metamorphosed to possess an entirely new face and/or aesthetic. 

Campaign artwork for Jeremy Scott’s 2018 Moschino X H&M collection

In the campaign artwork for his latest Moschino collection, in collaboration with H&M, Scott places himself front-and-centre. A large, gilded portrait bust of Scott eerily hangs in the backdrop, his icon securing his role as Creator of the collection, the luxury Italian fashion house he directs, and a generation of kitsch-kids who will queue for hours on end to invest in their own slice of 21st century pop-culture history. I was somewhat stunned by the intoxicating jolt of hysteria I experienced viewing this bust of Scott through the glass of H&M’s Regent Street flagship store on my walk to work. There were so many burning questions: Is he aggrandising the role of Designer? Is he mocking himself? Is the use of a sculptural relief with such strong classical connotations important? Why, oh why is it gold… 

Campaign artwork for Jeremy Scott’s 2018 Moschino X H&M collection

I am not shocked by Scott’s use of license in this play on portraiture: he has always heavily publicised the indoctrination of his self-image within Moschino’s branding. In conversation with Alice Casely-Hayford of British Vogue regarding the Moschino x H&M drop, Scott stated, ‘I started with the thought of how to make it the most Jeremy Scott for Moschino collection ever.’ I am not even shocked by the garishly bombastic representation of the self that lingers in this spectral, chain-ridden bust. Jeremy Scott has consistently inspired a playful subversion of the fashion industry’s grandiosity, with his Moschino collections of the past five years undoubtedly poking fun at the veil of exclusivity that shrouds the luxury goods market. 

Behind-the-scenes image of Jeremy Scott and model Gigi Hadid on set for the Moschino X H&M collection campaign

Franco Moschino himself similarly antagonised the culturally accepted signifiers of consumption through his irreverent humour and socially-conscious campaigns—which, likewise, featured himself.

I am, however, shocked by the forward motion of Scott’s cult of personality. A strong, creative character that functions as a personified embodiment of the luxury brand under their direction is not necessarily a negative, it is far less common that a fashion house is governed by an introvert. However, the Moschino brand now, in 2018, cannot be examined without the inclusion of Scott; his authorship is a function of Moschino’s further discourse, and consumers invest consciously into his strategically marketed, highly covetable ‘aura’. 

A picture of Venessa Lee after collecting her goodies from H&M’s Regent Street flagship store on 8 November 2018, day of the Moschino X H&M collection drop

Queues outside H&M’s Regent Street flagship store on 8 November 2018, day of the Moschino X H&M collection. Photo taken by author

Hot tip: type “HMMoschino” into the gif feature on your Instagram Stories for a hilarious insight into Mr Scott’s 21st Century aura. You’re welcome 😉 

And I don’t know about the wider consensus but I’m looking forward to future @diet_prada content on Scott, coming soon to an iOS or android device near you.

The copy-cat scandal that @diet_prada reported on in September 2017, regarding Norwegian womenswear designer and London College of Fashion graduate Edda Gimnes and Scott’s Spring 2019 ready-to-wear collection for Moschino

References

A. Warhol, ‘THE Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again): 5. Fame (1975)’ in ON&BY ANDY WARHOL, ed. Gilda Williams, (Cambridge, Massachusetts, The MIT Press, 2016, p.53 

Alice Casely-Hayford, ‘A First Look at the full Moschino x H&M Collection’, British Vogue, 25/10/2018. Online edition. https://www.vogue.co.uk/gallery/hm-announces-collaboration, accessed 15/11/2018 

The Avant Garden

Moschino’s Spring/Summer 2018 ready-to-wear collection designed by Jeremy Scott is inspired by biker ballerinas, Hasbro’s ‘My Little Pony’, and flowers. An eclectic group of influences that are not aesthetically comprehensible but work insofar that the designs make the models look as if they are playing dress up on the runway. The designs make sense as a presentation of dress-up in the way they are in direct conversation with the runway design itself. The show’s threshold is shrouded with vegetation and overflowing with flowers of all different sizes and colors. The Moschino brand name is visible on the threshold only as a trace, an imprint created by negative space. The runway is made of glass and appears black, reflecting the walls that surround it—making it seem as if the models are walking in a fantasy space. The models reject ‘types’ through what they wear. Instead of being either ‘the biker’ or ‘the ballerina,’ they are both. Scott’s designs for Moschino expose how fashion shows can be taken too seriously in terms of how they can present a new standard of dress for women and instead the show parodies that notion through dress-up. The joke is particularly visible when the models walk out dressed as various flowers–the ultimate gift-object in society–which is often a metonymic representation for women in general. Scott’s use of humor in his designs to reject presentations of standards of dress for women, which makes visible the spaces in which women are told to exist are actually quite fetishistic and unsettling.

Anna Cleveland for Moschino Spring/Summer RTW 2018

Supermodel in-training, Kaia Gerber, opens the show. Gerber wears a feathered light-blue tutu, “My Little Pony” t-shirt paired with fishnets, black leather combat boots, and a black leather jacket (fig.1). Gerber’s look sets the tone for the biker-ballerina designs by Scott. The mixture of hard lines created by the biker aesthetic and the soft lines and colors of Hasbro style in conjunction with Gerber’s almost seraphic face further establishes the show’s theme of dress-up.

Gigi Hadid for Moschino Spring/Summer RTW 2018

There is no fluid transition between the first act and the second act of the show. Anna Cleveland opens act two by sauntering onto the runway dressed as a pink lotus flower picking out her own petals (fig 2). Scott’s flower-wear took the shape of lilies, roses, orchids, tiger lilies and tulips. The show ends with Gigi Hadid, literally dressed as a gifted bouquet of flowers (fig.3). The end of the show makes the viewer aware that the models (or flowers rather) were all gifts to be received by the eye. Scott complicates this in that Hadid’s make-up does not fit with the rest of the flowers that frame her face. Her make-up makes her appear older. Hadid’s face stands out amongst the flowers instead of blending in. Jeremy Scott’s designs use dress up as a means to complicate how clothes, our second skin, can actually reveal the physical body even more.

By Destinee Forbes