“It just seems kind of gross and repulsive, to be honest with you,” Jeremy Scott told me over Zoom while revealing that he’s never tasted beer in his life (nor has the designer ever tried coffee or smoked a cigarette). But Scott does have one vice, which he picked up after moving to Paris at age 20, upping the culture shock he’d already experienced leaving his native Kansas City, Missouri to study fashion in New York. It was there that he discovered his love of wine—and appreciation for the fact that the French don’t need a special occasion to pop a bottle of champagne, which has flowed backstage at his fashion week shows for decades.
Scott hardly needs to add more to his plate: He heads up not only his eponymous label, but also the Italian house Moschino. But Ecco Domani’s request that he design a bottle of pinot grigio for its 25th anniversary was too good to pass up. The Italian wine company launched the same year Scott moved to Paris and “how bold that was in a market that’s so oversaturated” reminded him of his younger self. Not for the first time—nor undoubtedly the last—Scott took inspiration from the ‘90s, along with post-modern Memphis Group design. “I wanted to capture that mood, almost as if you were at a discotheque and looking up at the ceiling, with all the checkerboards and shapes and strobing neon lights,” he said. He shares more about his early days in Paris and drinking buddies like Björk, here.
What’s your go-to drink?
I just like a little white wine with some ice cubes. I like rosé with ice cubes. I like an ice cube moment. I like to do à la piscine, like the French say.
What about cocktail-wise?
Kir royale, which is cassis and champagne. It’s actually Björk who turned me on to them. I dressed her in that early time in Paris and we became very good friends. She also liked champagne a lot, so she was like, “Here, try this, it’s cassis, a kir royale.” I like sweet, really girly drinks—like, really prefer them. The sweeter it is, the more I gravitate toward it. And that bit of cassis just [sighs] put me over the top. I can’t remember what exactly, but there’s something else like it, too. Miley [Cyrus] is always teasing me because it’s what her mom has. She's always like, Go put some blah blah blah on the champagne for him. He needs it like Tish.
When did you first have a drink?
I may have tasted some alcohol beforehand, but I feel like the first time I really drank was after I graduated, when I moved to Paris. I didn't drink [before then], I really didn't. I wasn’t drinking underage as a teenager. But going to France was really when I became an adult, and I think that’s when I first experienced drinking.
Have you always preferred white to red?
I don’t fare well with red wine at all. A lot of people were drinking it at the time, and all of a sudden I’d just fall asleep on the floor of someone’s house in the middle of talking. It conks me out, so I was like, Okay, we’ve got to avoid that. Then I got into the white wines and the rosés and the champagne. The champagne became a very good friend of mine. [Laughs.] As an American, I always saw it as something for special occasions, like They’re getting married! Champagne! Not, you know, Okay, dinner! Here’s some champagne! It became a little more of a familiar thing.
Did your family support your Paris move?
Financially, not at all. It wasn’t being stingy—they just didn’t have it. And at first, emotionally, not really. My mother is fiercely supportive, but she’s a mother and she feared her child going to a foreign country. She was very adamant: You don't know anybody there, you don’t really speak that language, you just don’t need to be there. It was already enough for her that I moved to New York from Kansas City. I think it was something my family couldn’t conceive of, and maybe I couldn’t articulate it at that time because I didn’t yet have that insight into myself. It wasn’t a rejection of them or America or anything like that—just where I needed to go for my light to shine.
What was the biggest culture shock?
Maybe because I grew up on a farm, a little bit like Little House on the Prairie... I was like, There are children basically smoking here. This is shocking, that Europeans are so mature. Everyone was drinking wine and things were so much less taboo. There was so much freedom in being out of the context of the very small Midwest city and seeing things expand even more than New York. New York was like a breath of fresh air for me—I finally felt understood and appreciated. I had spent so long being persecuted for the way I dressed and presented myself. But in New York, it was unbelievable. People weren’t making fun of the way I dressed; they were complimenting the way I dressed, stopping me on every corner. I feel like no one ever talks to anyone anymore in New York, so maybe it was because I was such an alien at the time. It sounds weird, but I remember someone telling me they loved my body, which really lifted my spirits. I was like, Okay, I’m with my people now. I can be more me.
What can you tell me about your next runway show?
It’s on the 9th of September, and I’m very excited. I’m bringing the main Moschino women's collection to New York for the first time, which feels momentous: We’ve never had a show there in the whole history of the brand. For me, as a designer, New York in September feels like back to school. And the timing combining with the Met Gala feels like a good, uplifting moment, as we transfer ourselves to this new time of being vaccinated and able to gather together. It just feels very joyful, so I’m really trying to design a very joyful collection to celebrate a mood like that.
Have you been making any plans for the Met Gala?
Still preliminary, but a little bit. I just started designing some outfits, but it’s like having a whole other fashion show plop on my lap when I didn’t really expect it. I’m getting ready to direct and film my resort show, so that’s really been my focus. This is my third, and they’re doozies. I promise you, it’ll be much easier for me just to go back to having a live fashion show in New York. I love directing, and I want to continue to direct after this. It’s not a drudgery, but it is more complicated. It’s probably a lot harder than even making a normal movie, where you can be like, Okay, we wrote it. Now go costume it.
Right—you have to think of a concept and make it engaging, and then of course make the actual collection.
And merge it all together so that it makes sense, then do it in a timely fashion, which Hollywood doesn’t know much about, either. In fashion, we’re regimented. You work on deadlines. Things have to get made. At a certain point, people will walk out of my show—they just have to get going to the next thing. But it seems like my friends that are painters and artists, and even the people in Hollywood can do whatever they want Like, I think I want to create some more paintings, I’m going to push the opening back. We’re going to push filming back because we want another actor. It’s like, I’m going to push New York Fashion Week back a couple of weeks because I wanna make some more dresses. I’m going to push that back because I was waiting for that supermodel who just got booked for the biggest money job of her life. I can't do that! It’s the antithesis of our world.