Photography Marcus Mam
When the young Jeremy Scott visited Paris for the first time, he was, quite frankly, disappointed. Scott was literally fresh off the farm; his most formative fashion moment to date had been a cat fight on Dynasty (full hair, full make-up, gowns, jewels, the works); what’s more, he still believed in the glossy, glamorous magic of magazines like Vogue. So where were the ten-foot-tall glamazons in head-to-toe Thierry Mugler regalia? It has been Scott’s personal mission to bring the excitement and the glamour—and perhaps a little bit of humor—back to fashion. Jeremy Scott was born in 1973 in Missouri. He always wanted to be famous. Shortly after he graduated from high school, he entered a shoe design competition. He didn’t win, but he had discovered a passion and a potential claim to fame. He moved to New York and enrolled at Pratt. (F.I.T., legend has it, turned him down, saying that he lacked creativity and originality). Scott studied Balenciaga, Norel, Cardin. He got himself an internship with Marc Jacobs. And in the summer of 1995, he returned to Paris as a designer. Scott created his first collection with virtually no money; a series of surgically inspired pieces made from paper hospital gowns. Intricately cut and pleated, these frocks were in theory more decadent than any couture gown: they could be worn only once. He called them “prêt-à-jeter”. His first formal runway presentation he called Rich White Women: the all-white garments lacked sleeves or legs, or had humps or flying shoulders. This time, instead of paper or plastic, there was leather and fur. Scott, perceiving before him the leading edge of fashion that he had been searching for, was so moved by the sight of the models collected on the runway at the end that he cried out, “Vive l’avant-garde!” The phrase struck, and has now become his battle cry. The spring of 1999 brought the rosy Establishment: pink pouf dresses, pink bows, a pink poodle. Scott introduced himself to his audience in a voice-over: “Hi. I’m the designer. And I’m proud to be in the world of fashion.” This was the first time Scott used a real pant, with two legs. “I want to go down in history,” says Scott. “I want people to open books and see an outfit and say, ‘Oh my God, who made that? What year was that?’” The year is 2001. And the designer is Jeremy Scott.
Visionaire’s Fashion 2001: Designers of the New Avant-Garde by Stephen Gan