At Jeremy Scott’s fall-winter 2017 show, heaven and hell rode in tandem.
Though the overflowing venue space could have doubled as Satan’s living room, the presence of Jesus was palpable. I don’t mean that in a coercive, Mike Pence’s America type of way; JC’s face was plastered across look after look in a style reminiscent of the romantic era. His eyes followed you from the front of Gigi Hadid’s pants. Juxtaposed against vixen-like cheetah prints and chunky dominatrix boots, the angel and devil had their first shared moment of glory since their interactions on the shoulders of Kronk in “The Emperor’s New Groove.”
The good-versus-evil symbolism became a bit more nuanced toward the show’s latter end. A dress in an overtly innocent, babydoll cut touted “Sex is Cute” in large, equally loopy lettering. A feathered showgirl headdress was paired alongside a crew-neck sweatshirt fit for a kindergartener. Supermodel offspring Anna Cleveland sported a fringed skirt, reminiscent of the ever-sinful 1920s, juxtaposed against a pure white cape emblazoned with angel wings. Soon, the looks appeared to exclusively focus on this moral conflict’s place in the United States. Leather and velvet pieces in bright, childlike hues served both as an emblem of American excess and an appreciation of the genuine liberty to which the USA lays claim. Old western-style music (banjos, deep male drawl and the like) blared through the speakers, followed by Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” on full blast. The production’s final moments, including the shimmering “As Seen on TV” tank, felt nearly satirical.
Perhaps the paradox presented in Scott’s “Cult of Personality” mimics that of our country. Since our very beginnings, we have claimed to support the honest and good over all else. And yet here we are, with a hateful businessman at the helm of a ship built by those he hopes to eject. It comes as no surprise, then, that members of Scott’s show staff were asked to wear custom tee shirts that read “Our Voice is the Only Thing that Will Protect Us” on the front, and listed the names and phone numbers of each state’s Senators on the back.
Sure, the metaphor of the up and the down is a bit more simple than what’s going on in our nation, but there is something to be said about a man who can say this much through his clothes. Hats off to you, Jeremy, and to the angels and devils living on all of our shoulders.