Members of the Rage Fall 2024 Menswear Collection

Call it a tale of two Cudis.

Last Friday, a 33-ft sculpture of Kid Cudi was erected outside the Place de la Bourse, one of three monumental statues (the other two landed in New York and Long Beach) that depicted the rapper in streetwear with his arms outstretched, his eye sockets and open mouth beaming red light.

Today, from a showroom in the 16th arrondissement that buzzed with feel-good color, Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi in the flesh was showing off patchwork crew jackets and crystal-studded jeans.

Same person, different Paris rollouts. Whereas the vaguely menacing figure was a bold publicity move pegged to the release of his ninth studio album, Insano, the extroverted and high-octane clothes belong to his brand, Members of the Rage.

In December, the Grammy-winning artist was presented with an Honorary Master of Arts in Fashion Design from the Istituto Marangoni fashion school—significant recognition given just two seasons under his belt. But Mescudi is laying out an idiosyncratic style much like he has developed his catchy music. For starters, he’s doubling down on personal ideas that merge the vulnerable and comical. Musings, drawings and graphics have been transposed from his original sketches: “It’s hard to make friends cuz I’m an artist” spotted within a doodle-packed print; a pixelated, needlepoint homage to late bulldog, Freshie; hand-painted touches that will be scanned for production.

His design approach is a largely unisex offering that encompasses looser, street silhouettes such as the “jumbo cord” cargo pants; kaleidoscopic versions of collegiate standbys; and tailored looks defined by a cropped and boxy jacket with slightly flared trousers. He attended the recent Creative Arts Emmy Awards (his film, Entergalactic, won Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation) wearing a MOTR watercolor-printed suit speckled with lavish beading. But there are also retail-friendly hoodies, sport jerseys and fuzzy cardigans more suited to music festivals than a night on the sofa.

He takes craftsmanship seriously, and this came through across the mixed-material and leather pieces: superfine lambskin printed with racing motifs (apropos of a brand name that sounds like ‘motor’); a remix of his 2011 jacket collaboration with Surface to Air; pants and jackets inset with iridescent panels or bouclé patches that alluded to ‘slime’ (yes, the neon goop from the ’80s that came in a can). If, in some instances, the effect was a hallucination of ’80s nostalgia manifesting as stage attire, the unbridled creation—as proof, the repetition of “Art = freedom”—certainly put a positive slant on rage.

With the assistance of the fashion group 247, which produces the line in Italy and now distributes it internationally (there will also be e-commerce come spring), MOTR’s positioning is more elevated than it may appear. Mescudi name-checked Kim Jones, Matthew Williams, “my hero” Nigo and close pal Virgil Abloh for opening his mind to all that goes into making ready-to-wear at a high level. There is talk of a presentation next season and it’s this increased exposure that will determine whether the industry—not just his loyal fans—considers him beyond a crossover artist.

Mescudi welcomes the pressure, the investment and the commitment. “We don’t know if a lot of people are taking this seriously yet; this is still at the point of proving itself. But I have a very unique way of seeing things, I have a great support system, and I know my audience,” he said. “This is a nonstop train in real time and you’re on it for however long you have your brand. What I’ve learned with creating is that, even though I have gone through the ups and downs, I was free. I was expressing myself thoroughly. And no one said I couldn’t do it.”

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