“YOU’VE GOT TO CLIMB MOUNT EVEREST TO REACH THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS”
Way before Barbie there were paper dolls: 2D, hand-drawn mannequins delivered on the page with their own illustrated wardrobes. For his Spring Summer 2017 Moschino collection, Jeremy Scott finds inspiration in this original game of cut and paste for girls of taste.
Plus to muster that sweet, hard rush of insta-gratification for this season’s instantly-shoppable offering, Scott turns to another genre of ‘Dolls’ – as Jacqueline Susann termed them in her scandalous novel of 1966. It’s a capsule collection with a powerful dose of capsules.
Deploying trompe l’oeil detailing, angled illustrative flourish, and a first-look ’til last-look motif that echoes the white tabs of the original paper dolls, the collection is a Moschino-flavoured reverie on the ceremony of personal facade. It begins with a spaghetti strapped, slimly fitted shift dress that suddenly furls mid-calf to echo the foldable stand of the original paper dolls: its front is illustrated to make the wearer seem deshabille, in black bra and panties. She is the template, ready to be outfitted.
Early looks echo the joyous source code of the house’s creator: Franco Moschino’s signature black on red polka dot, his chains, that peace sign, those teddy bears. But those pearls are flattened panels, that bling is painted on, and those bears ain’t there. Whimsically subversive agit-chic. Dada-touched irreverence. A sly examination of stereotype that extends to the set: the gold chairs with red-velvet cushions, an intimate, half-raised, red-carpeted runway. A boldly old school reset.
What you see and what you get are never in sync. An apparently half shrugged-on trench coat, with a wickedly manicured hand just visible at its lapel, is nothing of the sort. What is ostensibly a capelet in pastel paint-by-numbers floral that seems to balloon below it certainly isn’t. Keep looking.
Scott takes a trip. Hoodies and sweats, quilted and chain-strewn leather minis, faux-kini bodies, Daisy Duke fishnet leggings, bikers and bombers, logo sportswear, washed denim: is this the real life, or just fantasy? The capsule of capsule strewn handbags, backpacks and dresses – plus a prescription pillbox clutch – hints at escape from reality.
The finale is a procession of augmented unreality eveningwear. Ruche and swoosh and swirl frozen in a 2D moment, yet 3D real. An interplay of true and skewed. From the front, a sugary hit of colour and flounce given hyper-real definition though illustrative steroid. From the back though, a blank. Paper dolls.
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