Seven is L'Wren Scott's lucky number. Or it might be three. Or something else. But it's been seven years since she was last in Japan, and seven years since she launched her label, so it seemed right to her that a memory that has always haunted her from that trip should assert itself around about now. She'd seen a screen from the late sixteenth century in the Suntory Museum in Tokyo, not with images of the usual cranes or bamboo or koi, but of kimonos, on which a woman would contemplate painted versions of the outfits that custom demanded she not wear while her man was away making war. So the screen would function as a sumptuous fashion show—or lookbook—for her and her friends.
"This is me laying out my work on screens," said Scott after her show, with the sly insinuation that if her man (Mick Jagger) wasn't exactly away making war, he was at least on tour for a while. The Gagosian Gallery offered the pure white backdrop against which she paraded a collection that sparked multiple echoes, not only traditions of Japanese dress like kimonos and obis, but also more modern references—the bondage of Araki photographs and even Anna May Wong, Hollywood's first Asian American superstar. OK, she was Chinese, not Japanese, but Scott's own alt-Hollywood roots were all over this collection in the sinuous glamour of second-skin looks, the fitted sexiness of a headmistress-y white sheath, or the red gown with a thick tracery of black that dissolved into a frenzy of fringing.
True, the rigor and ritual of Japanese dress is something that Scott has always displayed a natural affinity for in her own highly structured designs, but as much as she emphasized her Nipponophilia, it was impossible to overlook the glorious showbizzy-ness of a blinding white kimono-sleeve dress with wisteria embroidery drizzling down its shoulders. The same wisteria appeared on a pantsuit, the tailcoat of whose jacket was a veritable garden of flowers, the result of thousands of hours of embroidery, or so she said. Asked why her soundtrack incongruously featured a song called "Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing," Scott fessed up that the horrendous expense of her embellishment was her bad, bad thing. But it's hardly anything she'll go to hell for.