People Are Not Happy With Moschino's New Pill-Themed Fare

Moschino bag with what looks like medicine capsules on the outside
One of Moschino’s latest offerings from their capsule collection. (Photo: Moschino)

The see-now buy-now capsule items from this season’s Moschino show are setting social media abuzz as usual, but this time, the Italian label is facing critics who say the swag is in poor taste.

For its latest offering, the label played off a Valley of the Dolls theme and the term “capsule collection” with pieces inspired by prescription drugs. There is an iPhone case in the shape of a pill bottle, a shoulder bag made to look like the inside of a box of pills, and T-shirt reading, ‘Just say MoschiNO,’ to name a few. Even the invitation for the show was a pill bottle and a handwritten “prescription.” While some took the theme as lighthearted fun, others took issue with its motifs, voicing their disapproval on social media.

According to a 2014 presentation from Nora D. Volkow, MD, to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, “It is estimated that between 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide, with an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012 and an estimated 467,000 addicted to heroin.” So it’s easy to see why some people would be upset or feel that Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott is trivializing an important issue.

But, Scott doesn’t see it that way. As he told Yahoo Style, “It’s literally a collection of capsules! And when Jacqueline Susann wrote Valley of the Dolls, she called capsule [pills] ‘dolls.’ So it’s a roller coaster of themes, and they can exist separately — the capsule collection and the paper dolls — but they can also reference each other.” The designer then went on to say that he hopes the joy he put into this collection comes across to the public. “I always say, fashion is the only drug I do. It keeps me going … and if my shows can give you that feeling of awe and joy again, that’s my gift. That’s what I’m passing on to you.”

A pair of pill-printed men's pants from an old collection
A pair of pill-printed men’s pants from an old Moschino Cheap and Chic collection. (Photo: Nothing Special)

This Rx motif isn’t unique to this Moschino collection. The label used a pill print years ago for its Cheap and Chic range, so in a way, they’re breathing new life into an old concept. There are also plenty of fashion labels that have used pills in their pieces. For example, the Row collaborated with Damien Hirst on a backpack covered in pills.

Still, we had to ask Dr. Indra Cidambi, Medical Director at the Center for Network Therapy, in Middlesex, N.J., if this particular instance is a negative glamorization of addiction. According to her, it’s not as much of a disaster as some are making it out to be. “While we want to move away from addiction as a stigma within our society, this reversal of acceptance is going too far,” she said. “We can’t take lightly the fact that people are dealing with serious addictions to prescription painkillers, often turning to heroin for a cheaper fix, and our country is seeing a sharp spike in drug overdoses.” But she understands how people could be offended and notes that this sort of collection could be something of an issue for those actually struggling with and trying to get over their addiction. “For those fighting addiction, cravings can easily be triggered by anything that conjures up thoughts and feelings of that substance … even a tongue-in-cheek fashion design. Those who are dealing with the grips of addiction or who have lost someone to the disease might not think that it is harmless fun.”

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