Jeremy Scott blends a colorful personality with sparkling crystals for a totally unique approach to fashion.
He’s gone from a farm in the Midwest to the hottest runways and red carpets across the planet. From Missouri all the way to Moschino, Jeremy Scott has become a tour de force in the fashion world, respected for both his famed eponymous collection and his role, since 2013, as Creative Director at Moschino. He has brought color in every sense of the word to the global fashion industry, and his designs are a favorite with celebrity fans that include Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Gwen Stefani, Rita Ora, and more. His Fall 2016 Moschino show was particularly sparkling, complete with a chandelier dress (yes, it looks exactly as it sounds) and another outfit that was quite literally smokin’: It was an homage to the Bonfire of the Vanities that took place in Florence in 1497, when objects that were considered temptations to vanity were burned.
Scott spoke to Rebecca Leffler and Katharina Kowalewski about turning giant light fixtures into clothing, his daily inspiration, and bringing humor to the serious business that is fashion.
Your recent Moschino Fall 16 show was a history lesson, an art show, and a home design event (note the chandelier) all in one. From where did the inspiration for this collection come?
I was inspired by the 1497 Bonfire of the Vanities, when Florence’s authorities rejected everything perceived as vain and decadent. They burned makeup, gilded mirrors, gold-framed paintings, works of art, manuscripts, and more besides. I used this as a jumping-off point to play with the idea of dresses that have been burned and tattered, exposing the boning and under-workings, which have their own beauty. From these, I was inspired to create the chandelier dress and broken mirror pieces with gilded frames around them, and the skeleton tuxedo look, where the bones are made of the most luxurious stones.
You’re the master of visual puns. Why is humor important to you when presenting your art?
It’s just my natural way of seeing the world and then presenting my work to it. I’ve always felt that a little bit of humor goes a long way! The world is far too serious, and the last thing I want to do is add to a burden that’s already heavy. I hope my designs and my shows can offer respite from all of that.
The chandelier dress was legendary. Explain the process that went into creating it?
The chandelier dress was certainly the most difficult dress we ever made in the entire history of the house of Moschino. It’s a technically difficult piece, given the weight of the crystals and the structure. It was also probably one of the most difficult dresses ever made to walk down a runway! Sanne (Vloet) wore it so wonderfully, however, that you’d never have known. For me, there was no doubt that it had to be made of Swarovski crystals—any fancy chandelier worth its weight is made of them. Swarovski crystals add a sparkling effect that’s out of this world.
The chandelier dress, along with the dress with smoke coming out of it, were both part of your ready-to-wear collection—where are these pieces designed to be worn?
You’re correct in pointing out that these ready-to-wear pieces are much more couture than off-the-rack, but what’s in a name? You say “tomato”, I say “tomato.” You say “couture’, I say “ready-to-wear”! Some pieces are destined to be worn onstage—they’re magical moments designed to inspire people and remind us to dream.
How do you manage to design for both Moschino and your own brand? How does your design approach differ for each brand?
I look at it like different trains: the tracks may lead them to the same station, but they still end up at different destinations. I would be the station in the equation, so the ideas flow through me, but they end up where they belong in the end.
Where did the inspiration for Cowboys & Poodles come from?
I built the collection from the bottom up, starting with the plastic cowboy boot that I designed with Melissa, and then dreamed up a collection to go around it.
How did you use Swarovski crystals in the cowboy boots?
I wanted to capture the glamour and glitz of honky-tonk in outer space, and the Swarovski crystals really pushed them over the edge and made them into something otherworldly.
You’re a renaissance man, famous for blending fun and fashion in so many different ways. Do you think this is a trend we’ll be seeing more of in the future?
I sure hope so—I feel like we could all use a little more fun in our lives, don’t you? I’m having the time of my life. I’m so happy that my work is resonating with people in such a strong way globally. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and turn up the volume!