May 2011

Image: AppearancesFrom Sly to Sublime

Jeremy Scott’s design approach is all over the map, and that’s just where he wants to be   by BOOTH MOORE

While much of the fashion industry remains in a slump, Los Angeles designer Jeremy Scott says, “I’m in the best place I’ve ever been.”

Why? “I don’t make a bunch of stuff people already have.”

That’s for sure. His spring Boudoir Bombshell collection is an ode to punk rock, with a straitjacket wedding dress and a T-shirt that reads, “For Rent.” His fall 2011 Candy Flip collection winks at rave culture, with a red-sequined mini designed after a Coca-Cola can but emblazoned with the words “Enjoy God.”

“I like open interpretations,” he says slyly.

The Kansas City–born Scott moved to Los Angeles in 2002, after attending Pratt Institute in New York and living in Paris for six years. He follows a long line of runway provocateurs that includes Jean Paul Gaultier, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Franco Moschino and Elsa Schiaparelli—except Scott’s brand of commentary is available at all price points.

In addition to his own namesake runway label ($120 to $3,000), available at Opening Ceremony, he has the Jeremy Scott for Adidas Originals collection ($60 to $800), which runs the gamut from high-top sneakers bedecked with plush teddy-bear heads to red velour tracksuits with beaded matador jackets. Sold at Adidas stores and specialty boutiques, it counts Kanye West, M.I.A. and Willow Smith among its cultish following.

Scott has also joined forces with other fashion companies, such as French accessories brand Longchamp, where his latest take on the classic Pliage tote bag comes in a pill print. His three Swatch watches ($70 each) are available in stores now, including one winged style that plays on the phrase time flies.

The other part of his business is what he lovingly calls the “pop girls.” As a go-to designer for the music industry, Scott outfits Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Madonna in fringed panties, studded Latex catsuits and ice cream–print minidresses for videos, appearances and concert tours.

In between all that, he found time to make his acting debut last summer on The Young and the Restless—playing himself, naturally. “The first couple takes I was rusty, but then I started getting into it, making soap opera faces and throwing dagger eyes,” he says. “I may come back for another episode. I would love to play twins.”

And while Scott doesn’t rule out designing for a luxury brand down the line, for now, he’s enjoying his freedom. “I love to make an imprint in different domains,” he says. “I can touch the sneakerheads and the Italian Vogue [readers]and then be on a soap opera for housewives.”

I guess you could say he’s the James Franco of fashion.