Tiny puppets decked out in miniature couture | Daily News

Tiny puppets decked out in miniature couture

The runway is bathed in soft light. A parade of fur-lined jackets, dramatic dresses, and clouds of tulle march by. Anna Wintour is on the side, perched at her usual front-row seat. A wedding gown completes the show, along with a wave from Jeremy Scott in his Moschino shirt.

From far away, you might just think this is an ordinary fashion show. But look a little closer and you’ll see strings moving the models down the catwalk. You’ll notice that their clothes — down to every zipper, button, and hem — are all miniature.

The world has been anything but normal in 2020, so Scott — the creative director of Moschino — decided to put a new spin on fashion shows by using puppets to showcase his spring/summer 2021 collection during Milan Fashion Week.

Here’s how Scott and his team put everything together, from pairing with the company behind the Muppets to handcrafting 40 tiny pieces of haute couture.

Couture clothes, unlike ready-to-wear, are one of a kind. They are constructed completely by hand and tailored to a client’s specific measurements. Couture even has its own governing body in France, known as the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.

Scott told Vogue that he views the world of couture as a “human, emotional, tactile thing,” one that represents “time, dedication, and the connection to design history.”

Scott told Vogue that he researched how designers in Paris had created miniature couture pieces to help reboot and celebrate France’s fashion industry after World War II. The tiny mannequins — known as the Théâtre de la Mode — were dressed to the nines in mini designs by the likes of Nina Ricci and Balenciaga as they toured across Europe and the US.

It felt like a perfect link to the current state of the world.

“We need to dream, we need to be inspired,” Scott told Vogue UK’s Ellie Pithers. “We need to be uplifted and transported, now more than ever.”

Scott wasn’t a stranger to the world of puppets, and already knew a few of the shop’s puppeteers from past jobs.

“I was the first designer to ever dress Miss Piggy!” he told Vogue UK.

“These are marionette aficionados, but even for them it felt radical doing something so elegant and chic!” he added.

Moschino’s atelier in Milan, Italy, crafted all the miniature outfits by hand.

“It was, for sure, a labor of love,” he told Vogue UK. “It’s much easier to do a show with live models and put clothes on them in a traditional size, turn the music on and go.”

That incredible attention to detail can be seen throughout Scott’s show, which he also directed and turned into a short film.

“I always think of my fashion shows as a ticket,” the designer told Vogue UK. “What would be the best way for me to give the same experience that you’re used to, coming to see my shows live? How could I give you that whimsy, that magic, that fantasy?”

The clothes in Scott’s collection are, in a sense, inverted. They show the darts and trims, the pant pockets, the corsetry boning.

“I was thinking about the hidden, the never seen, and now a lot of time the not used,” he told Vogue UK. “I wanted to show that human side. To put it on a pedestal and pay homage.”

“As the world seems to be splitting along the seams, the bare inner workings of something new will be exposed,” he said in a press release for the show sent to Insider.

New York Times journalist Vanessa Friedman also made an appearance in Scott’s puppet show, as did Edward Enninful, the editor-in-chief of British Vogue.

“For Edward’s suit I made sure it had the British flag,” he added. “I thought, if I was making something custom, what would I imagine for him that would respect him in his world, but give a little nod that I was playing?”

Scott’s mini-me wore one of his signature Moschino T-shirts.

“I conceptualized it, I designed the clothes, I directed the film, I should be sick of it,” he told Vogue UK. “But I keep watching it, I never feel tired or uninspired or unamused. It feels like something special.”