Hometown hero Jeremy Scott has opened the first Moschino store in Los Angeles, with all the playful "Drink Moschino" cola can window displays, Barbie-pink shrunken biker jackets and chain-link-trimmed baseball caps you'd expect from fashion's reigning king of pop.
The designer, who took over as creative director of Italian fashion brand Moschino in October 2013 and now splits his time between his L.A. base and Milan, arrived stateside on Sunday to open the 3,500-square-foot boutique, located in a former gallery space on Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood.
"I drive down Rodeo Drive on my way to Soul Cycle every day, and there are people walking around taking pictures, but no one has a shopping bag," Scott says. "I chose this location because, of course I want tourists to come, but I also want people who might be eating at Lemonade to stop in on their lunch break, so there's an interaction, and it's not just this sterile place."
The store has a rectangular facade with huge windows. It is light-filled with high ceilings, moveable displays and chrome fixtures that let the colorful products shine. A VIP dressing room can be entered from the back, so Scott's celeb fans can come incognito. The bathroom is tagged with graffiti.
A range of men's and women's products are featured, alongside shoes, accessories and iPhone cases. In store now: Moschino Barbie T-shirts, Barbie-pink chain-handled biker bags and rubberized hand-mirror-shaped iPhone covers, all from the Barbie-themed section of the spring collection, which Scott designed with Mattel's blessing, as well as "Drink Moschino" cola-themed garb, ladylike boxy jackets and mini dresses decorated with gold chains and dollar-sign charms, bandanna printed tie-front tops and palazzo pants, men's printed bomber jackets, shorts and denim. Prices range from $85 to $6,450.
"We wanted a gallery space so we could have different configurations for different collections," Scott explains. "Moschino has such a rich history of window displays — there's a whole book of them from the decades before me — and we have been continuing that tradition for the stores. I wanted this place to take it further and have larger installations at times when it makes sense for the collection."
Scott looks relaxed dressed in Moschino jeans and a T-shirt with the brand's new logo, two smiley faces with interlocking smiles that cheekily plays on Chanel's famous CCs. This, despite the fact that his six days in L.A. are just a quick blip in a brisk month's schedule, which will take him to the Sundance Film Festival, where he'll accompany (and dress) Frances Bean Cobain for the premiere of "Montage of Heck," the documentary about her late father, Kurt Cobain, of which she is executive producer. Then it's on to Phoenix for the Super Bowl, where he's designing all the costumes for pal Katy Perry's halftime show, and to New York Fashion Week, where he shows his namesake Jeremy Scott collection. (Expect surprise guests; last season, Miley Cyrus designed the jewelry.)
He's also releasing his first two fragrances. His eau de Moschino, Toy, comes stuffed in a teddy bear, and was held up in customs when we meet, but it should hit the L.A. store soon. His other fragrance is with longtime collaborator Adidas Originals. Bottled in a winged sneaker-shaped flacon, it's set to drop next month.
Somehow, Scott is juggling it all. As far as logistics go, there's a lot emailing and Fedexing samples, he says.
"But I deal in person with the most important things, issues of size, for example, which can be deceptive in photos. I'll have a list of priorities. But I used to live in Paris, and I was always sending stuff to my studio in L.A., so I'm used to having that kind of interaction with photos and emails."
He's created no shortage of controversy with his Moschino collections, referencing McDonald's, fast food and fast fashion in his first women's runway show and Barbie culture in his second. Some critics have dismissed it as kitsch and called his references too literal. But others seem to be warming to Scott. "I feel the fashion people are pausing a little more," he says. "But either way, I was fine before, and I'm fine now. I have a huge fan base that already existed .… And I want the clothes to be cool and exciting and pushing the boundaries."
Asked if he feels pressure to be provocative with headline-making collections, he says, "I don't really think about it as being provocative. I just feel excited about something. For my recent men's collection I showed in London, it was a more nuanced fashion reference to talk about [photographer] Bruce Weber and the GQ archetype of masculinity rather than McDonald's or Barbie. A different icon, but the same enthusiasm. I do something because I have to do it, because I go crazy over an idea. I was driving up La Brea and saw McDonald's and said, 'McDonalds, Moschino, ahhhh!' "
Scott will always be an L.A. booster and says he would consider showing here again one day, following the news that Tom Ford and Dior are hosting high-profile runway shows here in coming months.
Still, the designer — who recently bought his dream home, a 1947 Lautner above Mulholland — doesn't feel there is anything particularly L.A.-inspired about his irreverent approach to fashion.
"I think it's just me," he says. "But I do feel like you do your best work wherever you're happiest, and I'm happiest here."