Years With Herb Ritts Helped Prepare Former Model L'Wren Scott For Her Biggest Challenge--Styling The 2000 Academy Awards
August 19, 2001
SINCE SHE IS 6-FOOT-3, I ASK L'WREN SCOTT FOR HER PROFESSIONAL OPINION ON tall women in high heels. "My feeling is, if you're going to be tall, why not be taller?"
Scott, 35, who possesses one of the more enviable shoe collections, adores a Pierre Hardy but would die for a Manolo Blahnik. "I'm obsessed with them," she says, despite the fact that last September she was knocked off her Manolos by a careless passerby and ended up with a broken elbow, fractured wrist and torn knee ligament. "The most depressing part about my accident was that I couldn't wear a heel for six months. I was more freaked out about that than the fact that I could hardly move."
As the first-ever style director for the Academy Awards, Scott was responsible last year for dressing everyone who appeared on the stage, from the performers to the presenters. She describes the project as "amazing," even certain panic-inducing snags such as the 24-person dance number added five or six days before the show. "I just thought they'd look fabulous as Canadian-styled Mounties," she recalls cheerfully. Of course, Scott was no stranger to Oscar night. She's designed original gowns for Renee Zellweger and Mariah Carey, among others, and continues to put together red carpet looks for a serious list of celebrities, though she won't dress and tell.
In addition to her work on a variety of commercials (Pepsi, Calvin Klein, Revlon), music videos (Jennifer Lopez, Tina Turner) and fashion shoots (Vogue, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone), she's been photographer Herb Ritts' creative stylist for the past five years. "It's like a love story," Scott says of the intense creative synergy between them. One high point was the 1997 Absolut Versace campaign, an eight-page Vogue layout featuring clothes by Gianni Versace, photography by Ritts, bodies by supermodels such as Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, and towering 10-ton ice sculptures designed by Scott. The shoot took place in the Swedish Lapland village of Jukkasjrvi at the famous Ice Hotel, a 100-guest lodge that's built every winter and melts each spring. With barely two hours of daylight at this Arctic Circle latitude, Scott spent weeks working in the dark. "It was a very educational experience for me," she says, explaining the architectural challenges of dealing with frozen water, not to mention sleeping on a bed of ice.
Scott's fascination with fashion began when, at the age of 12 and already 6 feet tall, she began scouring her local Utah thrift stores for vintage clothing that she could rework at her sewing machine to fit her unusual proportions. But her devotion to textiles didn't take off until her teens, when she moved to Paris--where she modeled for Chanel and is said to have inspired many of couture designer Thierry Mugler's creations. She soon began buying material at flea markets."It's so interesting to see how the seams were done, how a piece of silk is woven and just to examine the fabrics they don't make anymore."
Recently, Scott added director to her portfolio of official titles. In her first black-and-white short film, "Lady's Point of View," Scott (who's operating the camera) stars as The Lady, and it's from her silent point of view that we witness all the stupid ways a man can bungle a relationship. Stay tuned for more episodes.