After heading to the (Hollywood) Hills, Jeremy Scott has turned an iconic mid-century home into a playful, cartoonlike enclave.
Jeremy Scott has been fashion’s prince of pop culture ever since Björk came wailing at his studio door back in the late nineties, after his inventive third collection—of white T-shirts reworked to suggest body dysmorphia—set him firmly on the style map. So when, in 2013, he was approached to become the creative director of Moschino, the Italian house founded by the “fashion humorist” Franco Moschino in 1983, it was, as Scott remembers, “a no-brainer”—after all, he was famed for his early campy conceits, which included sending models out to stumble down runways in high heels of different heights, or dressed as glamorous Mad Men–era stewardesses or disco goddesses.
The designer has spent the ensuing three years folding his passion for cartoons and mass-market Middle Americana into his playfully uplifting, Hanna-Barbera–colored vision for the brand and its fans, which include such boldfaced names as Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Kanye, Britney, Nicki Minaj, Miley, and Madonna—many of whom also happen to be his bosom buddies. Scott attributes much of his success to the distance he maintains from conventional fashion capitals. In late 1999, Vogue took the fashion wunderkind to Los Angeles, for the first time since a childhood visit to Disneyland (where else?), for a Mario Testino shoot. Seduced by the weather and “inspired at the way pop culture is connected to Los Angeles and its history,” as he puts it now, Scott stayed on afterward. “I fell in love with L.A.,” he says. “To me, it is the most quintessentially American city.”
And so, feeling that he was always going to be considered an outsider in Paris, he decided to relocate to the place that reminded him of the sprawling suburbia of his Missouri teen years, quickly becoming what fellow L.A. transplant Hedi Slimane playfully calls the city’s fashion-world “pioneer.”
Scott’s first grown-up house there was a 1930s Art Moderne in the Hollywood Hills, which he decorated in a Fred-and-Ginger fantasia of black and white, complete with a gleaming grand piano. On his morning jogs, however, he admired the house dramatically located at the top of his street, a jaggedly futuristic structure built in 1947 by the iconic California modern architect John Lautner, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright’s. Lautner’s work “epitomized to me the idea of California living and why I wanted to live here,” says Scott.
When the house finally came on the market two years ago, Scott—besotted with its compact proportions and inventive detailing—swooped. The architect, a great proponent of indoor-outdoor living, had conceived the apostrophe-shaped pool to curl into the living room, where an extraordinary wall (with built-in sofa, shelves, and side tables) swings open through a system of hydraulics to the outdoor terrace to reveal sweeping views, from the distant high-rises of downtown Los Angeles to the ocean. (The house also commands views across the valley on the other side. “On the Fourth of July, I was watching fireworks on both sides,” Scott says. “It was amazing.”)
Scott brought in his friend the restoration architect Mark Haddawy to landscape the property, which is now embowered in a jungle of succulents and mature palms. Inside, Scott kept the furnishings simple, allowing the space-efficient architecture—conceived by Lautner with the help of a yacht builder—to sing. In the living room, for instance, apart from Lautner’s original built-ins, Scott eschewed formal furnishings, merely scattering a trio of shaggy Mongolian-lamb beanbags. His bibelots give more of a clue to his tastes, including some Memphis-era pieces, the African tribal fetishes that he finds profoundly inspiring, and the MTV VMA Moonman that he was invited to redesign (he washed it in luminous rainbow hues and gave it his famous winged Adidas sneakers and a giant peace pendant).
Scott collaborated with the kinetic eighties Pop artist Kenny Scharf on his own Spring 2014 collection and subsequently used the artist’s silk screens to print over the humble 1930s-era quilts that he collects in homage to his grandmother. “I like the mix of something farmlike and something futuristic and artsy mixed together,” he says. “It’s kind of both my worlds.”
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