#SuzyNYFW: Jeremy Scott, Turning 20 Years Young

If I could leave a legacy, it would be a smile,” said Jeremy Scott backstage, as the quirky designer celebrated at the New York shows his 20 years in fashion.

“Humour for me is being able to put a smile on people’s faces – sometimes it’s a twist and some irony, sometimes it is just a colour or the context of something that can be unexpected – it comes in different ways,” continued the designer, whose dress code for the late night show was, typical for him, a T-shirt printed with a gathering of models and a pair of baggy camouflage shorts. Around him were models announcing in their skimpy tops ‘Sex is Cute’ and the Hilton sisters blazing out Moschino – the Italian brand of which the designer is creative director.

It is tough to build a business on comic book wit, but Scott chose crazy prints and wild colours in the 1990s before digital mash-ups were everywhere. Now the patterns are eye popping, presented as the core of sexy, cheeky outfits where lace-up boots rise thigh high and skirts are cut in vertical strips like buffers at a car wash.

Inevitably, the exuberance of the early days has become more familiar, as the fashion world absorbed what was once a youth revolution. This Jeremy Scott show was dedicated to menswear as much as women’s, with the bright separates brushed with the perpetual sunshine of the designer’s homeland in LA.

The comic strip pronouncements teamed with camouflage patterned trousers, skirts and shorts provided a pop art-inflected blend of skater boy-girl outfits. Prints of skeletal bones on the chest of a swimsuit or the word ‘HARD’ printed on yet more camouflage completed the casual west coast look that was presented with suitable irony.

With stars such as Lionel Richie in the audience to support his daughter who was modelling along with Liberty Ross, Coco Rocha, Joan Smalls, Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss and Jourdan Dunn, the show shone – and that included transparent glitter speckled fabrics, worn over bared skin. The finale to this jewel of a show was laced with irony: vast clumps of iridescent stones attached to flimsy dresses or appearing like giant spots on a man’s leather jacket and trousers.

With LA in his mind and Beverly Hills as a cheekily caricatured reference point of the Jeremy Scott heartland, the designer of witty and whimsical sportswear turned serious about his work.

“I think about what other people say like, ‘Oh! He’s the Warhol of fashion’ – okay, I would take that,” said Jeremy. “But I would always say that the one thing I have that makes me unique is my humour. I feel like that’s the most distinct thing that I have and no one has like I do.”

“Humour is lacking in fashion more now than it was maybe 20 years ago, yet I think it’s more important to have now,” he continued. “In the era that we’re living in, if I can be a respite from the doldrums or the horrors of the day, and be something that is uplifting and cheerful and put a smile in your face, that’s a gift I am thrilled to be able to give.”