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King Jeremy the Wicked 

Around the world and back with designer Jeremy Scott, guest-starring Karl Lagerfeld, Cory Kennedy, Mario Testino and the FedEx lady

Wednesday, Mar 28 2007
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Greased lightning: Jeremy Scott flanked by the ’57 Chevy and record dressesPhotos by Garik Gyurjyan Makeup by Kimi Hair by Samantha RoeModels: Liberty Ross, One Model Management • Ruby Aldridge, NEXT modelsHollywood Hills, 2007

Jeremy Scott’s house is going off. The phone is ringing, packages are arriving, and right now he needs to check on “the girls” in his studio, a converted one-car garage attached to his modernist Hollywood Hills home. The fashion designer is dressed in an oversize Mickey Mouse shirt, gray sweatpants cut off at the shins, and saddle shoes, but he’s all business as he strides through the open door of his studio, where the walls are lined with colorful bolts of fabric, and three fashionably dressed young women — all skinny jeans, gorgeous hair, ballet flats and ankle boots — surround a square drafting table. These are not models but a freelance patternmaker and two interns from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, measuring tapes draped around their necks like stethoscopes, who check figures and pencil lines on the translucent beige paper that covers the table. They look like stylish E.R. residents tending a patient. When Scott appears, they come after him with a series of questions.

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“Is the front meant to be higher than the back?” asks one intern, referring to a skirt hemline.

“The same all the way around,” answers Scott, furrowing his brow. “But I want it to flare out more, kind of poof out. You’ll have to add fabric.”

The other intern is working on a pattern that is supposed to look like a 35 mm movie strip for a blanket shawl. “Should there be another line here?” she asks, pointing to the inner edges of the strip. “I think it would look more like film.”

“You mean right here?” he asks, running a finger down the paper as he studies the pattern that will soon go off to the knitters.

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“Yeah,” he says finally, “that will look much better.”

Scott’s decisiveness is critical. It’s just a few weeks until the Paris shows, and Scott is showing his first collection in five years there.

Back in the house, in the dining room that doubles as his office, past the spare living room outfitted with a small sofa, a chair, and a piano adorned with a bust of Scott silhouetted against the L.A. skyline, Scott is about to explain the theme of his new collection when the doorbell rings. A woman in a blue uniform can be seen through the window.

“Oh, it’s my FedEx lady!” Scott says.

He skips off, practically clicking his heels as he excuses himself. They look like unlikely pals, but the two talk like housewives dishing on neighborhood gossip. He returns after a few minutes with packages, apologizing, “I haven’t seen her in forever — she got moved to a different route.”

Scott seems to make friends wherever he goes. And over the past 10 years, he seems to have been everywhere — in Paris, hosting a party for Sean Lennon; in Australia, collaborating with the surfer founders of the high-end jeans label Ksubi; in Tokyo, presenting his “Hello De Milo,” a Venus de Milo replica with Hello Kitty’s head, as part of the 30th-anniversary celebrations for the icon of cute.

You could call Jeremy Scott the Jeff Koons of fashion. He’s transformed bosoms into ice cream cones and twin Capitol domes (a.k.a. Capitol Hills), he finds inspiration in ’80s game shows and Vanna White, and his runway shows are always spectacles that shake the ennui out of fashion watchers. His “Food Fight” collection featured French-fry graphics on slinky dresses, a hamburger skirt, and long tees instructing observers to “Eat the Rich.” His “Right to Bear Arms” collection was all camouflage, guns and Care Bears. In 2004, The Face magazine listed him as number 32 in the 100 most powerful people in fashion.

Happy Daze – Jeremy Scott Autumn/Winter 2007 Collection The ideas for his newest collection are spread all over his dining-room table, which is covered with full sketches and bits of colored-pencil drawings; the corner of a laptop peeks out from the pile.

“I used to hate the process, and just want the show,” Scott says as he shuffles the papers, looking for one particular sketch, “but now I love it.”

He finds the sketch and holds it up show-and-tell style. It’s a picture of a jukebox dress, its chest area like the window of an old Wurlitzer; a boa-like, foam-filled pillow of a collar goes around the wearer’s head and under the arms to form the machine’s signature lighted arch. The whole collection makes references to the iconography of the ’50s: “You know,” Scott says, “ ’57 Chevys, UFOs, guitars, 3-D movies, poodle skirts.” Other sketches show a pink dress with silver fins that mimic a Chevy, a Judy Jetson–esque poodle skirt, and a pink minidress with a fretboard-shaped halter. Black knit and ribbed skirts warp like melted records around a woman’s waist. And for some of the pieces, he took old footstep dance instruction sheets and sketched their patterns to make prints for pants and skirts.

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