MILAN — Jeremy Scott is leaving his role as creative director of Moschino, leading to questions about the future of both the designer and the Italian brand, which he helped to reinvigorate over the past 10 years.
“I am fortunate to have had the opportunity of working with the creative force that is Jeremy Scott,” said Massimo Ferretti, executive chairman of Moschino’s parent company Aeffe. “I would like to thank him for his 10 years of commitment to Franco Moschino’s legacy house and for ushering in a distinct and joyful vision that will forever be a part of Moschino history.”
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Scott described his tenure at Moschino as “a wonderful celebration of creativity and imagination.”
He added that he was “so proud of the legacy I am leaving behind” and thanked Ferretti “for the honor of leading this iconic house” and his fans around the world.
To be sure, succeeding longtime creative director Rossella Jardini, who carried forward Franco Moschino’s torch, Scott was successful in grasping the tongue-in-cheek humor and ironic spirit of the founder and brought the brand to the attention of a number of international artists and celebrities, from Katy Perry to Gwen Stefani.
Ferretti was not available for additional comment on Monday, but market sources said the parting was amicable, taking place at the natural end of Scott’s contract. Sources said Ferretti is still talking to candidates to become creative director and that a successor to Scott has not been identified yet.
On his Instagram feed, Scott on Monday hinted at future plans, but kept the cards close to his chest. After noting that he “had a blast creating designs that will live on forever” at Moschino, he wrote that he was “filled with excitement and anticipation and can’t wait to share with you all what I have in store for you next!” One possibility is a reboot of his own namesake designer brand, which was put on hold in 2019.
The market reacted to Scott’s exit with surprising approval, sending shares of Moschino’s parent Aeffe up 3.05 percent to close at 1.15 euros on the Italian Stock Exchange.
Industry observers wondered if the change would contribute to substantially shifting the needle at Moschino.
Alessandro Maria Ferreri, owner and chief executive officer of The Style Gate consulting firm, expressed his admiration and respect for Ferretti and his savvy decisions over the years. “Several major brands, from Gucci and Prada to Bottega Veneta, are changing skin and Ferretti may be asking himself whether the brand is still in sync with its consumers,” said Ferreri.
“This is a consumer-centric world and it is only normal for brands to keep questioning themselves. There is a return to minimalism and relaxed tailoring; maybe even the Moschino customers want something different. The change in creative direction shouldn’t be felt as traumatic but as a necessary moment to take stock of the situation,” continued Ferreri.
Asked about a possible successor at Moschino, Ferreri said he would envision someone who “would make the brand less playful and more chic, more subtle, maybe someone who had couture skills.”
He saw similarities between Moschino and Schiaparelli, as both brands offer “disruptive clothes with unexpected elements and objects that become part of the garments.” However, Schiaparelli, designed now by Daniel Roseberry, caters “to those consumers that are looking for that same eccentricity offered by Moschino but want something dressier and less beach club,” he said.
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“Given Jeremy’s tenure and the transition toward a more formal and elegant aesthetic, this turnover does not surprise me,” said Luca Solca, senior research analyst for luxury goods at Bernstein.
An executive talent recruiter who asked to remain anonymous said there was “hope in a real change at the brand, not necessarily into minimalism,” but saw “the need for a twist to return to the fun and original creativity of Franco Moschino.”
Incidentally, Scott’s most recent collection, paraded last month in Milan for the fall 2023 season, hinged on vaguely ’80s Ladies Who Lunch suits and prim coats with some serious warping going on. Hemlines, buttons, contrast trims, floral and houndstooth prints appeared to be melting and dripping like Salvador Dalí’s clocks.
Surely the discrepancy between the clothes on the runway and those worn by several of the guests attending that show, from Yuwei Zhangzou and Molly Chiang to Quynh Anh Shyn and Chau Bui, was notable as they wore pieces from the spring 2023 season, filled with wacky inflatables and life preservers under peplum jackets, for example.
For sure, Scott was excited about taking on the creative director’s role at Moschino in October 2013, telling WWD at the time that he felt “like a child at Christmas with new toys, I can’t play with just one.”
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He leveraged the label’s bounty of references and iconography, and infused it with his own quirky sense of style. He has over the years paraded coats and dresses embellished with gold chains and lettering, and bags shaped like mini-Moschino jackets, or pumps with heavily sculpted heels or forks as details on the vamps.
While continuing to work from Los Angeles, where he is based, Scott said back then that he felt “a natural, instinctual connection with the vocabulary of the brand.”
Ferretti believed in 2013 that a change in designer was needed, aiming at a younger and more transversal customer.
A graduate of the Pratt Institute, the Missouri-born Scott introduced his own signature brand in Paris in 1997. Prior to Moschino, he worked with Christian Louboutin and Stephen Jones on accessories for his runway show, and in 1996 and 1997, he won the Venus de la Mode Award for Best New Designer. In 1999, he was nominated for Best Young Designer by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He has also worked with brands including Linda Farrow, Longchamp, Swatch and Smart, and is known for his eccentric Adidas Originals creations, incorporating teddy bears, cow prints and even leopard tails into his sneaker line.
Scott, who speaks Japanese, French, Spanish and German, has a strong connection with pop culture, drawing the likes of Rihanna, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Gwen Stefani to his designs.
During his tenure at Moschino he teamed with H&M in 2018 and for his men’s and women’s Moschino resort 2022 collection, directed Karen Elson in his first musical. Filmed on the Universal Studios backlot in Los Angeles, “Lightning Strikes” featured the model-turned-songstress as a waitress in a jukebox diner, backed by a “High School Musical”-style singing and dancing cast, all clad in Moschino team colors.
Signaling the importance of the brand in the U.S., Moschino showed its women’s spring 2022 collection in September 2021 during New York Fashion Week and participated in The Met Gala, which was delayed to September that year due to the pandemic. Scott also joined Amazon’s fashion designer show “Making the Cut” as a judge, bringing additional attention to the brand.
For sure Ferretti will be keeping a close eye on Moschino and carefully selecting a successor as the brand is key to the growth of Aeffe, which also comprises the Alberta Ferretti, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini and Pollini brands.
In 2022 Aeffe revenues amounted to 352 million euros, up 8.4 percent compared to 325 million euros in 2021. While the group does not break down sales by brand, sources say Moschino represents 70 percent of the total.
Moschino was founded by Franco Moschino in 1983 and Aeffe has held the license for the production and distribution of the brand’s women’s and men’s collections since then.
Following the designer’s death in 1994, Aeffe acquired a 70 percent stake in the company, further developing the brand globally. Rossella Jardini succeeded her mentor, Franco Moschino, designing the collections for two decades until Scott’s arrival. Aeffe took full control of Moschino in 2021, paying 66.6 million euros for the 30 percent stake in the brand it didn’t own. It also acquired the license to produce and distribute the Love Moschino collections of women’s apparel in-house for 3.6 million euros.
“Moschino is strategic for us and this is an important step in our medium-long term growth strategy,” Ferretti told WWD at the time. “Having full control over the Moschino brand, we are now in the best conditions to manage all activities related to the brand’s value chain, from product to quality and with positive effects on image, distribution and communication. This is fundamental.”
In 2021, Aeffe also took control of Moschino’s distribution in mainland China, signaling the increasing relevance of that market for the label. This involved around 20 stores, which has been operated for the previous 10 years by Scienward Fashion and Luxury (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.