"Fun. Happy. Playful. I certainly didn't want a funeral."
So said Moschino creative director Rossella Jardini of the spring show, a celebration of the late designer and the brand's 30th anniversary. "I wanted to pay tribute to Franco Moschino--not to myself," said the famously reserved Jardini, wearing a yellow pleated miniskirt, blue sweater and oversize jewelry and glasses, at her Milan headquarters. Jardini shies away from self-referential distinction, despite the fact that she has been advancing the brand for almost 20 years, following the death of Moschino--her friend and her mentor.
Although her first instinct was to publish another book about Moschino, following one marking the house's first decade, Jardini eventually embraced the idea of a show to celebrate the anniversary. Images of Franco Moschino were projected before the show. "I wanted his voice to be heard again and for people to understand his sense of humor, and how much he loved Italy," said Jardini, admitting she was "moved, but less so than other times. I was calmer--maybe I was too tired, but I am always emotional when I hear Franco's voice."
Jardini also asked the designer's favorite top models to return to the catwalk. They all agreed immediately, "before I even finished the call," she laughed.
Each model asked to wear the same outfit from back then--complete with accessories. Pat Cleveland wore a long strapless dirndl dress with a whimsical cow motif; Violeta Sanchez donned a coat with small teddy bears embellishing the shoulder line; Amalia sported the Italian flag top with a floor-length black skirt, and Gisele Zelauy wore a gown made entirely of garbage bags.
Jardini selected almost 50 archival looks, "the most representative" of each year, for the show--30 of them for the tableau vivant on the stage.
She also replayed Franco Moschino's favorite tunes for the soundtrack--including Gloria Gaynor's version of "I Am What I Am," performed live by the artist at the show.
Jardini feels the brand has become "a cult phenomenon" today, with young people appreciating Moschino's signature gold letter belts and quirky accessories, like animal-motif iPhone cases. To mark the anniversary, the brand teamed up with Samsung, a sponsor of the after party, to create a series of Galaxy Note 3 accessories and cases in the form of peace signs in black/gold and white/silver combinations and heart-shaped accessories in white/red and white/gold. They'll hit stores in November.
Moschino also launched a special-edition capsule collection of watches, bags, belts, T-shirts, eyewear, foulards, swimsuits, umbrellas and perfumes.
Asked how she felt looking back, Jardini admitted she was "quite proud" of the accomplishments she shares with her team. "Nobody would have bet on us when Franco died," she said simply. Her own dream project is to "create many small collections for different moments and usage, for example 10 little black dresses or five evening dresses, and to work by category," oblivious to merchandising or marketing demands. "Once upon a time, there was more freedom. Now there is no time to pause and think--it's a complex system."