Moschino Pre-Fall 2023 Menswear Collection

You could see this Moschino collection as a historical counterpart to the inflation-themed women’s proposal Jeremy Scott staged in Milan two months ago: punk, the subculture that externalized youth-centric feelings of hopelessness and anti-establishment rebellion while the economy was going down the drain in the 1970s. But here, unlike his women’s show, Scott had swapped his tragicomedy for a more profound approach to his subject matter. Rather than turning punk on its head, he recreated its original sentiments for a new era.

“Destroy to rebuild. We have to fight for everything we believe in,” read a graffiti motif on the back of a rusty brown herringbone coat. “Those sentiments still have validity because we’re fighting about things globally, from our elections here to the strife in Ukraine to the atrocities happening in Iran,” Scott said on a video call from Los Angeles. “There are so many different things that require attention and energy and, sometimes, for you to fight for what’s right.”

The punk movement was so figurative in its own expression that its trademarks often didn’t require Moschino’s irony treatment. When it came to pieces rebelliously collaged from elements of establishment wardrobes—traditional men’s tailoring, military uniforms, kilts—Scott simply amplified the attitude (and the studs). Similarly, he left deconstructed formal suits held together with safety pins intact, at least from a punk perspective.

Instead, he instilled the Moschino factor in magnified safety pins on coats and jackets, lots of leopard print, all-over dollar-bill motifs, and trompe l’oeil elements that would have delighted an original member of the anti-establishment. Speaking of, at a dinner Scott did once try to make Dame Vivienne Westwood reflect on her movement’s transition into the mainstream, but like a true punk, all she wanted to talk about was activism. “She’s a legend and an English treasure,” he said.

Born in Kansas City in 1975, Scott was justifiably never a punk. But sitting there on our video call dressed in his Mighty Mouse t-shirt and talking about the riot of color that has defined his own life, it was easy to see the links between his own aesthetic and the rebels who paved the way.

These days, Miley Cyrus takes him to see contemporary punk bands in Los Angeles. “I don’t think they’re so much caught up in anti-establishment, to be honest with you. I remember one song was about a gold-digger… It could almost have been a rap song but performed in a guitar, screaming format,” he laughed. But, in life as in fashion, “I think a punk spirit is always good.”

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