Survival of the fashion fittest is the theme of Franco Moschino's (1950-1994) tongue-in-check Survival Jacket. Made from khaki twill, a fabric associated with military uniforms or safari gear, it features a host of clever pockets packed with the tools necessary for life in the rough and tumble urban jungle: mirror, lipstick, mascara, blush, powder compact, nail polish, comb, toothbrush, nail file, and cuticle snippers. Of course, there's also room for what might be the most important items of all: a wallet and credit cards. And just in case the joke isn't clear, "Survival Jacket" is printed on the back in stencil-style lettering. Though clearly mocking those deep in the fashion trenches, the Survival Jacket is just humorous enough to diffuse what would otherwise be a sharp critique of the fashion system.
Moschino was known for his continual interest in poking fun at the self-importance of the fashion industry. His public statements were often decidedly anti-fashion. In a 1993 interview, he declared: "Fashion is a product of fascism...I really think fashion will not be important in the future. We'll have clothes, but we won't have fashion."1 Born near Milan, Moschino began his career as a fashion illustrator for print publications and other Italian designers, including Gianni Versace. In 1983, he presented his first collection of women's clothing.
From the start, his take on fashion was both humorous and provocative; his first collection featured dresses patterned with tire tracks and candy-box hats. In addition to the Survival Jacket, Moschino's Spring/Summer 1991 collection featured a belt printed with the pun, "Waist of Money." "Stop the Fashion System," was another favorite Moschino slogan, one he used in ad campaigns and printed on garments. For Moschino, humor was a way to force fashion personalities and fashion consumers to consider the role of fashion consumption within a broader social context.
1 Bannon, Lisa. “The Next Decade --- If the Shoe Fits... In the Future, We May All Be Fashionable.” Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition (Feb 3, 1993) R7.