I think I was pretty clear in my rant last season that I don’t like Jeremy Scott’s celebrity-infused approach to fashion and absolutely loathed his fast-food inspired inaugural collection for Moschino. I haven’t changed my mind and have been quite thankful that, outside of copious advertising and editorials for which the brand paid handsomely, I’ve not seen much of the garbage littering the streets. This season fares a little better, with a theme that is slightly less offensive and produces some pieces that are actually worth wearing. The direction Scott is taking, though, is still bothersome.

Barbie, as in the Mattel doll of considerable age and fame, is the theme for this season’s collection. Models took the the runway in over-styled blonde and brunette wigs and stiletto heels slightly modified from the doll’s original design so that the girls could actually walk in them. Predictably, the collection started with a heavy dose of pink before turning to other very bright primary colors common to the doll’s extensive wardrobe. For many women, I’m sure this collection comes with an air of familiarity as Scott has cherry picked some of the most popular outfits to duplicate.

Of course, this means that silhouettes generally run extremely tight and one is going to need to have that doll-like figure to fit them. Skirts are predictably short, tops are necessarily cropped, and if you thought it was difficult getting a pair of pants on the doll you’re going to be especially frustrated trying to get them on a real body. Since most of Barbie’s wardrobe was conceived in the 60s, there’s a trend-countering 60s feel to many of the pieces which works especially well with the swimwear and cove ups.

There are a few moments where the parody becomes absolutely humorous. The oversized plastic accessories, which had to be unreasonably large for little fingers to handle on the doll, are comical when translated to actual size. Very large buttons and tremendously large buckles also fall into that category. Even I had to chuckle when one model came out wearing a hard plastic bandeau top. One ensemble draped like a towel around a wet body is a look that provoked a lot of smiles but could actually take off. Tremendously huge bags, especially one that looks like a boom box, were also a lot of fun.

I understand what Jeremy Scott and the folks at Moschino are trying to do with a parody collection like this, but I fear they’re going about it in the wrong way. With all the emphasis put on celebrity connections to the brand, and the fact they will almost certainly be paying some young starlets to wear the clothes to major events, I fear the message to young girls will likely backfire. If they wanted to really send a strong, body-affirming message they would have styled a collection a little larger and put it on models with double-digit sizes. As it is, I fear that the parody aspect will likely be lost on the store shelves and unhealthy lifestyle choices may be reinforced, even though I’m certain that’s not the brand’s intention.

Parody walks a fine line and requires that the audience be able to recognize the content as such. When the audience is as young and celebrity-centric is Moschino’s is, I’m not sure it is safe to assume that understanding exists.

Photo credit: Alessandro Garofalo

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