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Retailers Have Started Yanking Moschino's Pill-Themed Capsule Off Of Shelves

Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images.
Jeremy Scott's attempt at fashion wordplay doesn't seem to be landing quite as he hoped. The designer presented a Valley of the Dolls-inspired "capsule" collection that takes the word "capsule" quite literally, thanks to pill prints and prescription bottle graphics, which were shown in tandem with his spring '17 runway show in Milan. Skeptics shared their unease with this theme on social media right after the reveal. But now, the concerns are being elevated: Retailers are second-guessing their endorsement of the line.

Nordstrom is the first stockist to pull Moschino's "capsule" from shelves, Fortune reported. Despite the first wave of criticism, the department store initially decided to keep selling the range — but ultimately, it came around and is yanking the pieces offline and off shelves. "We appreciate all the constructive feedback we received from concerned customers and ultimately decided to remove the collection from our site and the three stores where we offered it," a representative for Nordstrom told Fortune.

Nordstrom was one of the retailers called out in an online petition to remove all of the pill-themed items for sale. Randy Anderson, a drug and alcohol counselor and recovering addict in Minnesota, started the campaign on to bring attention to how this type of kitschy luxury product can downplay the seriousness of the drug epidemic in the United States, and how it even glamorizes drug use. "I’m one of the lucky ones who has not yet lost a loved one to this epidemic," Anderson wrote in the petition. "I work as an alcohol and drug counselor in Minneapolis, and I can tell you firsthand the havoc addiction has on the individual, the family, the community, the healthcare system and the country." According to the CDC, 14,000 people passed away from prescription opioid overdose in 2014.

Anderson's petition has accrued over 1,600 signatures at press time. Following the news that Nordstrom would stop selling this Moschino collection, which Anderson described as "a victory" to the Minneapolis Star-Tribute, he has directed his efforts toward Saks Fifth Avenue, which still carries select pieces from the capsule. (We've reached out to Saks Fifth Avenue for comment, and will update our story when we hear back. Stylebop, which is also still selling the line, was not available for comment.)

Moschino explained in a statement that the controversial collection "was inspired by a play on the word ‘capsule’ translated literally as a collection of ‘capsule-themed’ products," with no intention to promote prescription drug abuse. The accompanying tag line, "Just say MoschiNO" is meant to reference the anti-drug campaign that dates back to the late '80s, according to the brand. "We are disheartened to hear that there has been a misunderstanding of the underlying theme of the collection," a representative for Moschino said in the statement. The label didn't indicate whether or not it plans to discontinue the range.