‘L’Wren made everything sparkle — not just in her designs but in her spirit, her being’
Designer L’Wren Scott dressed Hollywood A-listers and fashion royalty, including Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman and Naomi Campbell. As a collection of her most dazzling pieces comes to Christie’s, her inner circle pay tribute to a visionary talent
L’Wren Scott was the ultimate red-carpet designer. Her signature silhouettes, known for their timeless glamour and precise construction, were worn by Hollywood stars and high-profile personalities, from Madonna and Michelle Obama to Daphne Guinness and Penelope Cruz.
‘She was an incredible talent,’ says Cruz. ‘She created many unique pieces that I wore for premieres and the Oscars.’
Among the most dazzling of these is the gold sequined dress (below) that Cruz wore to the Skyfall premiere in 2012.
‘She was almost the epitome of the Oscar statue,’ says fashion consultant Kerry Taylor of the jaw-dropping ensemble.
The dress is now coming to Christie’s as part of the L’Wren Scott Collection (9 June-1 July 2021), an online sale of 55 L’Wren Scott pieces dating from 2006 to 2014.
‘The sale is a celebration of L’Wren’s remarkable work and a wonderful opportunity for the public to see and enjoy her creations,’ says her long-term partner Mick Jagger. ‘I’m delighted the proceeds of this auction are going to benefit young students, helping to nurture emerging talents in fashion.’
Raised Luann Bambrough in Utah, Scott moved to Paris in her late teens to pursue a career in modelling, finding success with the likes of Calvin Klein, Chanel and Thierry Mugler.
David Bailey’s 1992 Pretty Polly campaign featuring Scott’s legs as the hands of a clock triggered a sharp rise in her profile.
By the mid-1990s, however, Scott had swapped modelling for styling, working for provocative photographers including Herb Ritts and Helmut Newton. (It was on a photo shoot in 2001 that she is said to have first met Jagger.) In 2006, with Jagger’s support, she set up her own label — to rave reviews.
‘L’Wren was exceptionally chic and refined, but she was also very sexy, and her clothes depict that combination’ — Nicole Kidman
As savvy as she was creative, Scott knew that she was her own best ambassador. With her long, black hair, statuesque physique and 42-inch legs (she was a towering 6ft 6in in heels), she was as eye-catching as any of her glittering creations.
‘Wherever she appeared wearing L’Wren Scott, she turned heads,’ says Taylor. Recalling a tailcoat ensemble that Scott wore to the British Fashion Awards in London in 2013, she says, ‘The lavishness of the embroidery was amazing by any modern standards.’
Nicole Kidman agrees: ‘L’Wren was exceptionally chic and refined, but she was also very sexy, and I think that her clothes depict that combination. I can’t name just one piece I loved that L’Wren designed, there were so many.’
Of the 11 dresses worn by Kidman coming to auction, the nude sequined sheath dress (above) from Scott’s second collection, ‘Under My Skin’, is perhaps the most sartorially daring.
‘It caused a sensation because it was just pure Hollywood glamour — no extraneous detail, just a beautiful shape,’ says Taylor.
‘It was almost like she was wearing her skin,’ adds Christie’s specialist and head of sale Caitlin Yates, ‘but it was her best skin.’
Also offered is the black and gold sequined dress (below) that Kidman wore to the Academy Awards in 2013. The sumptuous gold coil decorations were inspired by the mosaics from Gustav Klimt’s Stoclet Frieze in Brussels.
‘It’s where fashion fuses with art to create something unique and very beautiful,’ says Taylor.
Underpinning Scott’s extraordinary vision, however, was a phenomenal understanding of fit and construction. ‘Architecture is a big part of our design,’ she once said. ‘How to make heavily constructed things that are comfortable.’
Jagger’s custom-made butterfly jacket, famously worn during the Rolling Stones’ celebrated Hyde Park concert in 2013, beautifully illustrates this ethos.
It features extra seams across the shoulders and underarms, all cleverly concealed by glossy silk linings and allowing for ease of movement. Sequins and beads, which caught the light as Jagger moved around the stage, were used to create maximum visual impact.
Then there’s the jacket’s unique design. The butterflies fluttering skywards are a reference to the 1969 Stones concert at Hyde Park, where thousands of butterflies had been released into the air in memory of the late Brian Jones.
‘Here was the band back on stage in Hyde Park without him,’ says Taylor. ‘And they still missed him. And the jacket meant that.’
Also offered is Jagger’s 2013 Glastonbury ‘glamouflage’ jacket (above left), embroidered with oak-leaf motifs in shades of green, black and khaki.
‘It’s quite cool,’ Jagger says of the bespoke piece. ‘It just felt right for Glasto, to open the show with a very outdoorsy feel — and the crowd was incredible.’
Other treasures coming to auction include a sequined evening gown from Scott’s ‘Yorkshire Pudding’ Collection worn by Isla Fisher in 2013, and a rainbow-striped silk mini dress worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in 2012.
‘Everyone who wore her dresses was at the centre of her designs’ — Mick Jagger
What set her apart as a designer was her compassion and her commitment to her craft. She knew what women wanted and, crucially, what would flatter them.
As Jagger says, ‘Everyone who wore her dresses was at the centre of her designs.’
As a result, many of her celebrity clients became firm friends. Julianna Margulies sums it up, saying, ‘L’Wren made everything sparkle; not just in her designs but in her spirit, her being.’
‘She tended to know which of her pieces I would most enjoy wearing,’ recalls the fashion muse and designer Daphne Guinness, who wore the sumptuous blue evening gown above to the Met Gala in 2008.
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Naomi Campbell cherished Scott’s kindness. ‘She had the biggest heart, and when you were embraced by her she would do all she could to protect and encourage you,’ she remembers. ‘There will never be another L’Wren.’