His last show, in October 1993, was a 10-year retrospective that ended with a stage filled with men, women and children dressed in white and wearing AIDS ribbons. It was followed by a retrospective exhibition in Milan's Museo della Permanente called "X Years of Kaos." A coffee-table book with the same title and featuring Moschino's clothing designs, paintings and advertising campaigns was published in Italy by Edizioni Lybra Immagine.
Mr. Moschino was as much social commentator as designer, delighting in ridiculing the excesses of the 1980's with whimsical appliques, logos and slogans. His humor often took the form of outrageous sendups of fashion icons like the Chanel suit, which he once parodied by embroidering the words "This is a Waist of Money" where the traditional gold chain belt would have been.
The designer himself became easily recognized after his mustached, crew-cut image was used in advertising campaigns that pictured him in a variety of guises including Popeye, a Mafioso, a child and a transvestite.
Strongly influenced by the Surrealist art movement of the 1920's, Mr. Moschino was known to decorate a dinner suit with real cutlery, to use dozens of miniature teddy bears as a hat and scarf, to fashion the bodice of a strapless dress totally of gold safety pins and to make a skirt that was nothing but vertical rows of zippers. He covered the backs of jackets with images like a pair of women's eyes or an oversize playing card.
He once showed a man's white shirt with exaggeratedly long sleeves that were wrapped around the body to simulate a straitjacket. On the back were the words "For Fashion Victims Only."
He also made totally wearable, well-cut suits and dresses that he showed with wildly crazy hats fashioned like a bishop's miter, an airplane, a giant light bulb or an assemblage of life preservers.
"I'm not a fashion designer," Mr. Moschino was quoted as saying in a 1991 article in The New York Times. "I'm a painter; a decorator. I'm not the author of a new era."
He indeed was a painter and fashion illustrator before taking his first job as a designer in 1976 for an Italian ready-to-wear company called Cadette. He formed his own women's fashion business in 1983. Lacking dressmaking technique, he sketched ideas for his staff to execute. The business grew to include men's wear, leather goods, jewelry, shoes and perfume.
He first attracted attention by putting on wildly theatrical fashion shows that might have had circus performers appearing on stage with the models or dozens of models waving huge Italian flags as a finale. He once interrupted a fashion show and ushered the models offstage, leaving the audience waiting for the show to resume; it didn't.
Mr. Moschino was born in Abbiategrasso, an industrial town 14 miles from Milan, where his family owned an iron foundry. He was buried yesterday in a family plot in the town cemetery. His survivors include his mother, Pinuccia, and his brother, Angelo, both of Abbiategrasso.
XOXOXO to one our greatest designers!
Here is a sample of His work in the Shop currently: