All She Wrote: Pop-up pop art

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by Nicole Crews

Mother: What are you wearing to that Christmas party?

Me: A loincloth and a crown of thorns. What says Christmas more than Jesus?

Mother: Sigh. Why do you always have to make such a statement?

Me: Because somebody has to.

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Birds of a feather

I remembered this quote when my dear friend in Charlotte told me that she was collaborating with the Mint Museum to bring a chunk of her mother’s collection of Moschino from 1983 to 1994 in from Chicago for an exhibit. She knew she had my attention because Moschino was not only my favorite designer of that era, but also represented my fashion coming of age.

Franco Moschino, the celebrated Italian designer and rabble-rouser, melded the worlds of fashion, art, music and political statement in an era of opulence. He was the surrealist of the street who used language — “a waist of money” emblazoned on the midsection of a Chanel-inspired suit — and imagery, such as plastic, fried eggs embellishing the hem of a miniskirt, to parody the fashion industry as well as bring humor to the times.

This was slated to be a particularly amazing event because it meant the first retrospective of his work (at Mint Museum Uptown through April 3, 2016) — ever. It also coincided with the revamping of the label via its new creative director, designer Jeremy Scott, whose own irreverence and playfulness was a Cinderella fit for the label.

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Hillary Cooper of the Mint

A documentary of his career just came out this year and the Midwestern misfit made his mark at Moschino by raising its profile exponentially in 2015. Katy Perry performed in Moschino during the latest Super Bowl. Madonna and cast were clad in Moschino for the video, “B****, I’m Madonna” which debuted in June. And Scott’s Moschino label graffiti-tagged evening gowns, McDonald’s French fry phone cases, Barbie-pink sweatshirt dresses and the like have shown up everywhere from Cannes to Kalamazoo.

The collection at the Mint — drawn largely from two private collections, loans and the museum’s own bits — made its debut at a private soiree last week and the exhibit and party did not disappoint. Champagne flowed like tap water while a big band echoed in the entryway. A Ferrari festooned with loaners from Moschino HQ welcomed partygoers, and the exhibit itself was an epic display of the designer’s oeuvre.

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Christina Calabria with Warhol’s Liz

Meanwhile, closer to home, another pop art extravaganza was in the works for the following night. The Weatherspoon Art Museum’s Masquerade Ball — a party that brings together students, artists, musicians and supporters from all walks of life to celebrate the UNCG museum — was kicking off another membership drive. The event highlighted cult animation, old Disney, Warhol and pop art, and pop culture from all periods. A costume contest, a mask-making station, food, beer and wine, an Artist Alley of living creations and the exhibit itself kicked off All Hallow’s Eve in style.

Moschino was famed for leaving both tomatoes and flowers in the seats of editors during his private presentations so they could commentate accordingly. Had either event followed his example, tomatoes would’ve definitely remained in the seats for both.

  • Larry Hiatt

    Another great article! Viva Moschino! ???