The new Moschino campaign, “Alien Nation“, headed by creative director Jeremy Scott, is facing backlash for its portrayal of models as “aliens”. Some have interpreted the concept as political commentary that supports the Trump administration’s abhorred immigration policies – the opposite of what Scott intended.
Models Gigi Hadid and Kaia Gerber star as “aliens” in the campaign. Yesterday, on each of their personal Instagram stories, the two models’ faces, framed within a five-second selfie, sported the fiercely beautiful stares we are accustomed to. Oh, and Gigi was blue, and Kaia was orange.
In Instagram and Twitter posts advertising the collection—and the monochromatic bodies that pose in them—Scott asks: “What is an ‘alien’?” Most bitterly received was Scott’s description on a now-deleted Twitter photo of a blue-skinned, Moschino-clad Gigi Hadid: “The only thing illegal about this alien is how good she looks.”
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One Twitter user responded, “Please reconsider this phrasing,” another with “Hey this caption ain’t cute.” Yet another deemed this campaign “actual xenophobia.”
In response to the backlash, Scott defended the political intent behind his ad campaign to a single commenter: “THE ENTIRE CONCEPT OF MY AD CAMPAIGN WAS TO BRING ATTENTION TO THE US ADMINISTRATION’S HARSH STANCE TOWARDS ‘ILLEGAL ALIENS’. I PAINTED THE MODELS IN MY SHOW AND THIS CAMPAIGN AS A WAY TO BRING ATTENTION TO THIS AND DISCUSS WHAT EXACTLY IS AN ‘ALIEN’ ARE THEY ORANGE BLUE YELLOW GREEN? NO THEY ARE OUR FRIENDS, NEIGHBOURS, CO WORKERS, RELATIVES AND PEOPLE WE LOVE.”
In Hadid’s Instagram story, the models’ faces and necks were absolutely opaque, and their hands and forearms—which poked gracefully through the sleeves of Moschino jackets in subsequent Instagram pictures—were equally vibrant. The look juxtaposes a polished, suit-wearing Jackie Kennedy aura with that of an otherworldly creature.
In February, Moschino launched its autumn/winter 2018-2019 collection, and brightly painted models—among whom were Kaia Gerber, Soo Joo, Gigi Hadid, and Bella Hadid—walked the runway clad in mid-length skirts, matching suit-jackets, and sixties bobs – hence, the Jackie-O-technicolour-creature juxtaposition. The new ad campaign features the same clothes and artificial skin colours.
A single word has worked its way through Hadid’s Instagram caption, a Vogue Parispiece on the February show, and Scott’s Instagram reference to Trump’s disparaged immigration policies: Alien. An i-D article reported the show as Scott’s creative interrogation of historical conspiracy theories—mostly involving aliens—surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s death, Jackie Kennedy, and Area 51.
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Yesterday, with the announcement of the new campaign, Scott is continuing to use the multi-faceted, extremely volatile concept of “alien”—and the blue and orange body makeup he uses as indicators of one—to make a political statement about Trump’s immigration policy, child detention centers, and, more generally, the American fear of illegal aliens.
Scott captioned another Instagram photo, of a blue-bodied Gigi Hadid in an orange Moschino coat and black bag and hat, with a longer discussion campaign’s project: “WHAT IS AN ‘ALIEN?’ THE CONCEPT OF MY AD CAMPAIGN IS TO BRING ATTENTION TO THE US ADMINISTRATION’S HARSH STANCE TOWARDS ‘ILLEGAL ALIENS.’ I PAINTED THE MODELS IN MY SHOW AND THIS CAMPAIGN AS A WAY TO OPEN A DISCUSSION ON WHAT EXACTLY AN ‘ALIEN’ IS – ARE THEY ORANGE BLUE YELLOW GREEN? DOES THIS MATTER? THEY ARE OUR FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS, CO WORKERS, RELATIVES AND PEOPLE WE LOVE.”
This article originally appeared on Marie Claire US.