As a teenager, I plastered the walls of my bedroom with the work of Ben Frost, the Australian pop artist, torn and collaged from the pages of (what I think must have been) Monster Children.
At the Moschino show at Milan Fashion Week, Frost’s work appeared in equal and appropriately excessive measure: emblazoned across cocooning coat dresses, body conscious shifts and tongue-in-cheek accessories; on trim Jackie Kennedy twin sets and pillbox hats, and even on the designer Jeremy Scott himself.
Scott enlisted the Melbourne-based Frost, a widely exhibited artist whose practice has spanned almost two decades, to apply his signature treatment to a capsule collection of accessories available to shop now. The artist famously re-appropriates packaging as a canvas – oftentimes fast food refuse or prescription medication boxes – onto which he applies and subverts pop-culture imagery, often with exuberant perversion. His subjects vary wildly, but often draw from a cast of characters including Hello Kitty, various Pokémon, Disney icons and members of the Looney Tunes ensemble. On the other hand (sometimes, quite literally) there are vixens transplanted from the pages of adult Japanese manga or Lichtenstein vamps that suggest distress and danger alike.
Scott and Frost are undoubtedly kindred spirits, and according to Instagram, it appears as though they’ve have long enjoyed a friendship; the two hung out when Frost exhibited in Miami in December. Frost’s collaged works echo the conflation of high and low that Scott has championed since his arrival at Moschino. In the case of the latter’s Autumn 2018 collection, their combined efforts delivered on most of the irreverence that has come to be expected of the designer wherever he goes.
This season, Scott took his narrative cues from a conspiracy theory positing that Marilyn Monroe and JFK were, at separate times, about to publicise the existence of aliens – hence their untimely demise, Monroe first and then the president a year later. The designer extrapolated on the theory with a twist of his own: that the famous First Lady herself was an alien responsible for their deaths. As always, the camp of it all served to underscore a twofold subtext. Presidential conspiracy theories and the embrace of illegal aliens? It’s not as otherworldly as it sounds.
Tile and cover image: Courtesy of Moschino/Instagram