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Jeremy Scott SS17 show New York womenswear backstage Dazed
Backstage at Jeremy Scott SS17Photography Lillie Eiger

Jeremy Scott revisits New York’s electrifying 80s

With the theatricality factor turned refreshingly up, Scott references the 00s, referencing the 80s, referencing the 50s – with added slime

Jeremy Scott trades in a post-pop world of yesteryear kitsch, and his SS17 collection dragged us to gritty, gleeful, 80s New York. Visions of Mudd Club, AREA, Allan & Suzi’s cable access show and Tama Janowitz danced in my head as I watched Scott’s Slaves of New York fever dream stretch its magenta claws down the runway. “Slime City,” Scott called the collection, no doubt in reference to a time when filth bred fantasy and itinerant hustlers roamed the West Village piers – a time before Jeremy or I would ever stalk the same streets, surrounded by luxury stores, imagining an intoxicating era long dead in the concrete cemetery of Manhattan. 

Scott’s design sensibility is signature and cartoonish. Through his Disneyfied lens, The Flintstones and SoCal skaters can live side by side. Often his clothes feel like something we’ve seen from him, reimagined in a different print, or revamped in a new context. Fast food with faces and poodles in space abound. His clothes have a novelty to them, they’re the kind of garments you can sooner imagine hanging in some East Village consignment shop 20 years later than on the street. I wonder if Scott’s fashion shows are more about spectacle than selling SKUs: he perhaps reserves that obligation for his adidas collaborations. His customer is base is broad, but elusive: K-Pop stars and LA party girls, Katy Perry and Canadian fashion bloggers. They’re out there somewhere, but you don’t often see them out and about in New York. That made Scott’s SS17 source material ironic, and not necessarily in a bad way. If Lady Gaga were ever interested in revisiting her formative Fame era aesthetic, she would find an entire wardrobe to work with here. 

“Scott would make a good Roger Rabbit villain, kidnapping cartoons and employing them to his own powerful end”

Indeed, enough years have waned since the nightclub era of Fischerspooner and W.I.T. for electroclash to feel fresh again, and Scott managed to evoke the early 00s, evoking the 80s, evoking the 50s: appropriation upon appropriation upon appropriation. She’s a Xerox queen floating in a static TV, where all forms of culture can be taken, used, reinterpreted, and piped onto mobile screens the world over in the blink of an eye with a cartoonish mayhem. Even his models are comic in their gender binaries: super-buff men and sexy, glamourpuss women. Scott would make a good Roger Rabbit villain, kidnapping cartoons and employing them to his own powerful end. It might be sadistic but it’s so fun that nobody cares, and besides: it’s entertainment. Fashion shmashion. 

Scott has amped up the entertainment factor since he’s brought on Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele to style his shows. She understands fun and sticks by it regardless of season, and in doing so she welcomes the risk of going out of style, a noble feat that Jeremy can likely relate to. Their collaboration hit a highlight streak here, with sunglasses, bags, jewellery, and shoes that brought an atomic edge to his electro inferno. 

If you’ve seen The People’s Designer, it’s amazing to witness how far Jeremy Scott has come. From an enfant terrible in the late ’90s (“Move over McQueen,” cried The Independent) to a design avatar nearly as famous as the pop divas he dresses (Madonna, Perry, Gaga, Minaj), Jeremy Scott has turned into a branding empire and practically a household fashion name, in part by distilling his devil-may-care, Looney Toon aesthetic into easily digestible separates anchored by easily identifiable prints. 

To look back on landmark collections like SS98’s “Rich White Women” show, you realise a certain overblown opulence – particularly in terms of silhouette – has been missing from Scott’s runways in recent years. Fortunately, his appointment at Moschino has enabled him to give us the very type of theatricality he does best, with budgets to sustain such whims. Since Aeffe decided to invest in the designer’s namesake line, however, it’s been an open question whether or not something more over-the-top would vamp down the catwalk for general fuck’s sake (MORE over-the-top, you ask? Yes. I think it’s a fashion imperative.) It was satisfying, therefore, to see Scott return to those moments this season. With his Slime City finale, Scott sent out a few geometric sequin dresses that felt like authentic, DIY fashion moments from a man who has become something of an automatic arcade machine of colourful prizes. Apparently, the spirit of forgotten 80s New York superstars awoke Jeremy from a fashion slumber. The cartoons came to life. Let’s hope that’s not all, folks. 

Update: An earlier version of this piece noted a resemblance between Scott’s slime print and that of designer Gerlan Marcel’s 2012 Mall Witch collection. A representative for Scott reached out to clarify and said: “Jeremy Scott’s slime patterns are actually an official collaboration with Nickelodeon – who have created their slime iconography since the 80s.”