Moschino was born near Milan, in a rural town called Abbiategrasso. His family owned an iron foundry that his father hoped he would work. However, Moschino was interested in fine art and aspired to be a painter. In 1968, he ran away from home to Milan where he enrolled at the Marangoni Institute. He did not have the emotional or the financial support of his family, and in order to finance his studies, he worked as a freelance fashion illustrator for fashion houses and magazines. After completing his schooling in 1971, Moschino became an illustrator for Gianni Versace and continued to work for him for another six years. From 1977 to 1982, he designed for the Italian label Cadette.
Franco Moschino could have followed his family into their iron foundry business, but his mind was set on becoming a fashion designer. After working for Versace and Cadette, he started his own company called Moonshadow and launched the Moschino brand in 1983. Five years later, he presented the more affordable version, Moschino Cheap and Chic, with despite its lower price was still impeccably made. He was very much influenced by the Surrealist movement, and with a style that was reminiscent of Elsa Schiaparelli. He was known for bringing humor to fashion, and this lack of pretension was refreshing in the industry. He criticized fashion and the way the fashion system was set up and often will use his sense of humor in order to show the absurd side of fashion. Moschino himself was surprised by his success, particularly in Italy, where fashion was taken very seriously.
Moschino ad campaign in 1999. Photo source: Moschino
Key Success Factors:
Similar to Elsa Schiaparelli, Franco Moschino brought humor to fashion and never took it seriously. This was reflected in his collections, where he decorated a dinner suit with real cutlery, or when he sent down the runway a Chanel jacket with the words ‘waste of money’ where the signature gold chain would be. He was aware of the paradoxical nature of fashion and will extend his humor to his own self, admitting that his approach to fashion is one of contradiction, and despite being in the fashion business, he did not embrace the rules of it.
Franco Moschino’s dinner suit with real cutlery. Photo source: Moschino