At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

27 February 2019

Franco Moschino - fashion designer

Made clothes with sense of humour


Moschino was famous for his outlandish designs, poking fun  at aspects of the fashion world he considered too serious
Moschino was famous for his outlandish designs, poking fun
at aspects of the fashion world he considered too serious
The fashion designer Franco Moschino, founder of the Moschino fashion label, was born on this day in 1950 in Abbiategrasso, a town about 24km (15 miles) southwest of Milan.

Moschino became famous for his innovative and irreverent designs, which injected humour into high fashion.

For example, he created a miniskirt in quilted denim with plastic fried eggs decorating the hemline, a jacket studded with bottle tops and a suit covered with cutlery. He designed a dress that resembled a shopping bag and a ball gown made from black plastic bin bags.

Other designs carried messages mocking his own industry, such as a jacket with the motif ‘Waist of Money’ printed round the waistband, another in cashmere with ‘Expensive Jacket’ emblazoned across the back and a shirt with the words ‘I’m Full of Shirt’.

A Moschino blouse styled to look like a dart board
A Moschino blouse styled to look
like a dart board
Moschino’s first collections focussed on casual clothes and jeans, but he eventually branched out into lingerie, eveningwear, shoes, menswear and perfumes.

As a young man, Moschino was encouraged to believe that his destiny lay in taking over his father’s iron foundry but his only interest in the plant lay in the layers of dust that clung to the walls, in which he would make drawings.

He wanted to be a painter and at the age of 18 ran away to Milan and enrolled himself at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera and the Istituto Marangoni school of design.

To finance his studies, he worked as a freelance fashion illustrator for fashion houses and magazines. This led to him becoming an illustrator for Gianni Versace, for whom he worked for six years.

Moschino began designing in his own right for the Italian label Cadette in 1977. He founded his own company, Moonshadow, in 1983, and soon built annual revenues in excess of £150 million.  He launched the Moschino Couture! label the same year.

His designs, which were inspired by the Surrealist movement of the 1920s, found acceptance among pop stars such as Madonna, Tina Turner, and Yoko Ono and two high-profile royal fashion icons in Princess Caroline of Monaco and Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Moschino logo adorns more than 150 boutiques across the world, with its headquarters in Milan
The Moschino logo adorns more than 150 boutiques
across the world, with its headquarters in Milan
Moschino died young, after suffering a heart attack in September 1994 at his villa at Annone di Brianza, overlooking Lake Annone, south of Lake Como. He had undergone surgery a short time previously to remove an abdominal tumour.

It came to light after his death that Moschino, who had raised money to build hospices for children with Aids, had himself contracted the disease. Moschino is buried in his family's plot at Cimitero Monumentale di Milano in Milan.

After his death, the Moschino brand was continued first under the guidance of his former assistant Rossella Jardini, and then by the American designer Jeremy Scott.

In more recent years, Moschino has designed the outfits for the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, for Kylie Minogue's 2005 Showgirl - The Greatest Hits Tour, for Madonna's 2008 Sticky & Sweet Tour and six outfits for Lady Gaga for her Born This Way Ball in 2011-2012.

The fashion house has more than 150 boutiques worldwide. Its flagship store is in Via Sant’Andrea in Milan, which bisects the famous ‘fashion street’, the Via Monte Napoleone.

Lago di Annone, where Moschino had a villa, is notable for being in two sections, divided by a peninsula
Lago di Annone, where Moschino had a villa, is notable
for being in two sections, divided by a peninsula
Travel tip:

Lago di Annone falls into the area known as Brianza, bordered by the lakeside towns of Como and Lecco and the city of Monza.  It is an area rich in hills and beautiful landscapes, parks and nature reserves that has down the centuries attracted many painters and writers. The main characteristic of Lago di Annone is that it has two sections, divided by a peninsula - the Isella peninsula - with the sections linked by a narrow canal which was once spanned by a Roman bridge carrying a road between Lecco and Como. The lake lies at the foot of Monte Cornizzolo and Monte Barro, two peaks offering marvellous views to those prepared to climb. Less challenging is a footpath around the perimeter of the lake.

Hotels in Lago di Annone from Hotels.com

The Visconti Castle, built in the 14th century, is one of the  architectural highlights of Abbiategrasso
The Visconti Castle, built in the 14th century, is one of the
architectural highlights of Abbiategrasso
Travel tip:

Moschino’s home town of Abbiategrasso prides itself on being part of the Cittaslow project - an offshoot of the Slow Food Movement - which comprises more than 140 towns around the world of 50,000 or fewer inhabitants, promoting a relaxed pace of life and and ‘an identity and community spirit in the face of the modern world’. Part of its slow living involves closing off the town centre to cars during the weekend, with citizens encouraged to use bicycles. The town is also home to the Visconti Castle, built in 1382 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti and enlarged and decorated by Filippo Maria Visconti after 1438. The nearby Basilica church of Santa Maria Nuova was built in 1388 to celebrate the birth of Gian Galeazzo Visconti's son. Abbiategrasso is also the home town of Giuseppina Tuissa, one of the partisans who captured Mussolini as he tried to flee to Switzerland in 1945.

Find a hotel in Abbiategrasso with TripAdvisor

More reading:

The meteoric rise of Gianni Versace

Roberto Capucci, the 'sculptor in cloth'

Giuseppina Tuissa's role in the capture of Mussolini

Also on this day:

1935: The birth of opera singer Mirella Freni

1964: Italy appeals for help to save the Leaning Tower of Pisa

1978: The birth of dancer Simone Di Pasquale

Selected books:

The Glamour of Italian Fashion Since 1945, edited by Sonnet Stanfill

(Picture credits: Lago di Annone by Cantakukuruz; Visconti Castle by Davide Papalini; via Wikimedia Commons)


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