He's dressed Rihanna in a chain-mail football jersey and Katy Perry in an ice cream cone dress. And now Jeremy Scott, L.A. fashion's rabble-rouser, is getting ready to storm Italy's design capital.
Starting with the fall 2014 collection showing at Milan Fashion Week in February, Scott — named Moschino creative director in October — will be infusing that brand with all the whimsy and street cool that have made pop stars fans of his namesake label, as well as making him an attractive collaborator for Adidas, Swatch, Longchamp, Smart Car and others.
It's a marriage that should bring a young, hip audience to the Moschino brand and some humor to the runways.
Scott's work revels in themes of celebrity and pop culture, starting with a collection in 2000 inspired by the 1980s nighttime soap opera "Dynasty" right through to his spring 2014 collection, for which he collaborated with Pop artist Kenny Scharf on cartoonish mask and squiggle prints.
Other past collections have featured dresses designed to look like Coca-Cola bottles with the slogan "Enjoy God" and jagged-edged, saber-tooth-tiger-spotted tunics worn with bone-accessorized topknots inspired by "The Flintstones" cartoon.
Scott, who lives in the Hollywood Hills, has deep roots in the pop music scene, having collaborated on music videos and stage costumes for Madonna, Lady Gaga, Perry and more.
He also has a huge fan base in Asia. K-pop stars 2NE1 wore Jeremy Scott-designed dresses that made them look like they were trapped in the jaws of fluffy space monsters during their debut performance in L.A. last year.
Similarly irreverent and playful, Franco Moschino founded his label in 1983, gaining fame for making visual puns and anti-fashion fashion statements (a jacket embroidered at the waist with the words "waist of money" and a gown made of garbage bags, for example).
Since Moschino's death in 1994, his former assistant Rossella Jardini had designed the collection, which was always on-trend, though lacking the wit of Franco's originals. In his new role, Scott will oversee all the Moschino lines, including accessories, children's wear, the lower-priced Cheap and Chic collections, licensed eyewear and perfume.
"I have so much respect for the brand and affinity for it. ... That's ultimately why I agreed," says Scott, who has turned down similar offers from Pucci, Versace and Paco Rabanne. "[It's] the play with fashion itself and the tease and taunt of fashion as an establishment. Teddy bears, which are emblematic of what Franco Moschino did, are such a part of my work. I also love the dinner silverware on the dinner jacket, the safety pin bustier, even the smiley face biker jackets Franco created over the years. It's hand-in-glove, it fits. It's going to be a lot of hard work but not effort to bring to life that kind of vision but keep it true and of today's voice."
"The Moschino brand DNA is to be iconic and ironic, and Jeremy is the person who can do that with a contemporary touch," says Alessandro Varisco, managing director of Moschino, which is owned by Italian luxury gourp Aeffe. "Moschino has a lot of fans in the Middle East and in Europe, and we want to internationalize our brand even more. Asia is an important area ... and we know Jeremy is a star there. I just discovered he speaks Japanese fluently."
Moschino has 144 stores worldwide, and prices range from $400 to $10,000. The Jeremy Scott Collection, which the designer plans to continue, is in 50 stores, including Opening Ceremony in Los Angeles, and sells for $100 to $2,500.
So how will the Moschino customer be different from the one Scott designs for now?
"It's a more opulent woman, more decadent, but with the same elements. It's similar notes but a different spin," Scott says.
In addition to his namesake runway label, he also has the Jeremy Scott for Adidas Originals collection, which runs the gamut from high-top sneakers bedecked with plush teddy-bear heads or gilded angel wings to track suits with beaded matador jackets or pants adorned with dollar signs. Sold at Adidas stores and specialty boutiques, the line counts Kanye West, M.I.A. and recent Adidas sneaker collaborator A$AP Rocky among its cultish following. The sneakers are so popular they sometimes sell out in a matter of hours.
Unlike many older designers at the helm of European luxury brands, the 39-year-old Scott is digitally savvy, with more than 300,000 followers on Instagram, where he routinely posts pictures of himself and pals that include Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber.
"Everything I do, when I work with performers or on a collection, one thing always brings something to the other," he says. "I thrive on all the vibrations and creativity."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times