A sizable family entourage is trekking in from his hometown of Kansas City, Mo. “Let’s just say they’re coming out of the woodwork,” Scott said recently, from his makeshift headquarters in the Royalton Hotel in midtown Manhattan. “I’ll probably have to shorten the runway!”
After 10 seasons in Paris, where the 28-year-old designer launched his career following his graduation seven years ago from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, Scott has returned “home.”
While he will show in New York, however, Los Angeles is where he’ll set up shop and reside. An enormous container holding his worldly possessions, including extensive collections of antique books and cloth souvenir totes, is en route to L.A. and expected to arrive around the time Scott heads back west.
Following his Feb. 15 show, Scott will stop by his parents’ Kansas City home for a couple of weeks’ rest.
But that’s seemingly eons away, as Scott tries to negotiate the new turf.
“Everything is new,” he said. “This whole city is new for me. It’s good they call it New York. I’m loving being here. But there’s always new challenges.”
Among those first challenges was assembling a production team for his show. Longtime collaborators and fellow Pratt grads Autumn Walters and Pablo Olea are in tow (and will work with him in Los Angeles). Through a friend, he met James Galanos’s former production supervisor. And show organizers “have been nothing but completely there,” he said.
This is not Scott’s first Stateside show. In October 2000, he sent Sophie Dahl and others down a runway in Los Angeles before a turnout that included Isabella Blow, Courtney Love, Jacqueline Schnabel and Monica Lewinsky.
The designer and his clothes made an appearance of another kind last month on “Wheel of Fortune,” where over five nights, letter-turner Vanna White wore a series of glamour gowns and Jeremy jeans. (A sixth installment airs on the show in April.)
Though he’s succumbed to Hollywood’s siren call, Scott knows New York is America’s fashion-biz capital, and participating in the collections there was a given. “I definitely hope the idea of me showing in New York will foster a more loyal commitment from American retailers,” he admitted. His U.S. distribution thus far has been limited to Jeffrey in New York, Nordstrom in Chicago and, in Los Angeles, Tracey Ross and Fred Segal.
He says the decision to show in New York was about “stepping up to the plate and showing here as an American designer. People are always putting down American fashion. Maybe there’s not a lot of exciting fashion in New York right now, but New York is an exciting city. If you want things to change, you need to participate in the process.”
Calling the fall collection “Cloud Waltzing,” Scott says he’s exploring the whole “idea of futurism,” not just referencing retro ideas. “I’m definitely taking a leap forward with the designs, the silhouettes, the color palette,” he said, adding, “each look is a new world.”
Response to Jeremy Scott’s collections has been as extreme as his usually outrageous ideas. The fashion press has called him pretentious, energetic, silly and brilliant. He’s championed one season, dismissed the next. He arrives in the U.S. after receiving positive reviews for the fall 2001 “game show” collection, then skipping out entirely on designing spring 2002 upon deciding last July to leave Paris.
Fall 2002 is Scott’s largest presentation of looks yet. With that in mind, he says he’s emphasizing the clothes themselves over the show production — which reached surreal proportions last year when some 1,500 guests piled into the Cirque d’Hiver in Paris to see models on a rotating stage posing next to “prizes,” such as a grandfather clock and luggage, while Scott tossed to the crowd fake dollars printed with his picture.
“Anything’s going to be scaled back compared to that show, where I put everything and the kitchen sink in. But compared to other shows happening during fashion week here,” he decides, “it probably won’t look that scaled back.”