Jeremy Scott: The New Man At Moschino
Moschino, which celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in Milan last month, has hired Jeremy Scott to be its new creative director. The 39-year-old L.A.-based designer replaces Rossella Jardini, who has headed up the label since 1994, when the house founder, Franco Moschino, died. Scott will make his runway debut at Moschino’s Fall 2014 show in February next year. In an e-mail, Aeffe chairman Massimo Ferretti said, “I am enthusiastic about this significant change, as our goal is to inject new energy into our Group in keeping with the changes already in place with other Aeffe brands such as Philosophy, Emanuel Ungaro, Pollini, and Cédric Charlier.” Scott will continue to design his own label, which he launched in 1997. With a rebellious streak at least a mile wide—at one of his early shows, he tossed coins printed with his face at the audience—Scott is a savvy match for Moschino, a label known for its irony and irreverence. “It’s the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new one,” he said via phone this morning. Here, the Missouri farm boy who Karl Lagerfeld once took under wing discusses his plans for Moschino as he ushers it into its fourth decade.
There are so many synergies between you and the Moschino brand. How did you feel when you were approached?
I was really excited. For me, one of the key elements of Moschino is humor. It’s one of the few houses that has humor, and it’s the same thing for me. Another one of the bonding elements is their written messages that express thoughts and twist ideas. We share an obsession with poking fun at fashion. Whimsy, also.
Were you a Moschino fan before this offer came through?
I was. The ironic thing is, during my last year of college, when I was at Pratt, I interned for the Moschino press office, for Michelle Stein here in New York. Yeah, it’s kind of a fairy-tale story. I was the intern, and now I’m running the company.
You once said you turned down job offers from Pucci, Versace, Paco Rabanne, and Chloé. Why did you say yes to this one?
It’s two things. At the beginning of my career, I felt it was really important to establish my own name. I feel like my own brand, my own DNA, is created and solid now, and I’ve built a global fan base. I don’t have that fear I used to have of the possibility of me getting lost in someone else’s house. On the one hand, I’m different now; the other has to do with the brand. It’s hand in glove. When I heard it, it was like, “Oh my God, yeah, of course.” This is so natural for me; I can take this so many different ways.
When did Moschino come to you?
I was contacted in July. It was very effortless, actually. I feel like they were pretty fixated on the idea and certain about me being the right person. I’ll continue to do my own line, as well as my Adidas collaboration. I’ve been working very vigorously to be ahead of my normal procrastinated self in anticipation of having a larger workload.
Have you been spending time in Italy?
Not yet. Other than meeting them in July, I’ve gone to Milan maybe two or three times. I’m not very familiar with the city, so that in itself will be an adventure for me. I literally don’t even know where to get toothpaste.
I’m going to be there the entire month of November—to understand how they work and to meet my design team, which is already in place. But I’m a very modern boy. I work a lot through the Internet. That’s one of the reasons I moved from Paris to Los Angeles in the first place, actually. Nothing was being made in Paris except the things in my own studio. I could be anywhere. Now that’s even more the case with iPhones and gadgets. But at the same time, I want to see the archives, to learn the house, and to be physically there, as well. We’ll see. Whatever it’s going to take for it to feel right, that’s all I’m concerned about. I want to do a good job.
How does it feel to be headed back to Europe?
I started my career in Paris, so it feels like home. I’m excited about learning more about Milan, Milan life, and Italian style. I’ve only been to Rome once, when Karl [Lagerfeld] brought me. The proximity of everything—I mean, Italy is the size of California, I can spend the weekends sightseeing. I’ve never been to Venice…I’ve always wanted to go, and now I have the perfect opportunity.
On the other hand, California, where you currently work, seems to be having a moment. Does it feel like there’s something going on there?
I am the pioneer, I got here first. I even remember Tom [Ford] saying to me, “I can’t believe you’re moving there, I wish I could do it.” I love it here. I feel inspired, it’s a wonderful way of creating for me—it just feels really good. I don’t really think about how [it's having a moment], but I realize it through other people’s eyes. All the stories about [the new boutique] Just One Eye, all the attention they’re getting. Other people are focusing here. The only thing I can think of that’s different now than when I first moved here is that there’s a younger generation that’s come up, that has become part of the look of the city. There’s been so much more enthusiasm about fashion and style from this new generation of kids.
Has the brand set goals for you?
Not really. We haven’t really had a big goal pep rally. The main thing is about bringing the brand into the now, into the future. For me, it’ll be about playing with the heritage and vocabulary and bringing it into today. I feel like I can bring a younger demographic. My fan base is much younger [than Moschino's].
It’ll be a big change, running your own company and now Moschino. Do you anticipate any challenges?
I don’t see challenges, I see opportunities. The important thing for me is to be more organized, as kind of nerdy as that must sound. To be more disciplined about my time. I’m used to a certain rhythm; I just have to get used to a new rhythm.
Now that you’re part of the creative director class, it’ll be hard to maintain the outsider streak you’re known for. How do you plan to stay rebellious?
I don’t think I could’ve found a more rebellious brand than Moschino if I tried. It’s so irreverent, things Franco did and things the brand’s continued to do in his name. It’s perfect.
You’ve been working with the legendary Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele for the last year or so. Are you planning on bringing her along to Moschino?
I absolutely adore Carlyne, she’s like my family. I couldn’t imagine someone better to have by my side. She’s been aware of this since I got the phone call.
Will Moschino take a stake in your business?
For now, no. I’ll continue to be the sole owner of my own company. That’s probably part of my rebellious streak. I’m one of the last Mohicans.
Your family has been such a big part of your story. What was their reaction?
Super excited. My mom’s very proud. She’s looking forward to coming to visit me in Milan. They’re such an important part of who I am. I’m a farm boy. That’s part of it, part of how I see things. I talk to my mom five times a day in general. The phone bill will be ridiculous.