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Why is there talks of Jeremy Scott at Chanel?

The twist that could knock us off of our chairs

Why is there talks of Jeremy Scott at Chanel?  The twist that could knock us off of our chairs

«Jeremy is the only person who could take Chanel on after me», once said Karl Lagerfeld to Le Monde. For most of the last decade, in fact, Jeremy Scott has been synonymous with Moschino. The American designer, whose grand showman instincts were no less than Lagerfeld's own, was a friend of Chanel's creative director who at one point even photographed him lying on the sofa at Rue Cambon wearing a fake brand t-shirt. Anyway, Scott's name started circulating again after journalist Dana Thomas reported on her substack a conversation with the designer in which, after jokingly suggesting that Scott, who was house-hunting in Paris, might have been hired by Chanel, the American designer reacted extremely cautiously and left an event. A rather eloquent reaction reported by one of the most authoritative voices in the industry. But if many think that the hyper-colored and pop world explored by Jeremy Scott so far is somewhat the antithesis of Chanel's vaguely embalmed aristocracy, it is necessary to remember both that Lagerfeld's Chanel was often a festive camp parade and that Scott's stylistic register is distinct from Moschino's visual identity. But how did Lagerfeld's admiration for Scott begin?

The initial moment of this friendship is little known: legend has it that they met in Paris where Scott had moved already in '96 and where he presented his first collection in a bar near the Bastille with a collection that today we would call upcycled, that is, created with recycled and scrap materials, which promptly went on sale at Colette. That period, which would end with Scott's return to Los Angeles in 2001, is when the friendship between the two actually established. As Scott told Vogue on the occasion of Lagerfeld's death: «His simple “cosigning” of me as a designer made a lot of the fashion “establishment” stop and take notice, and consequently take me more seriously. I have so many memories of the moments spent together». And it was here that Scott recounted the story of the photo taken by Lagerfeld during one of the Chanel haute couture fittings. In general, Lagerfeld supported Scott a lot at the beginning of his brand: there is a photo dating back to March 2001 depicting Lagerfeld with his two protégés Hedi Slimane and Jeremy Scott, and on the occasion of the Met Gala dedicated to Lagerfeld, Scott, who attended, described Lagerfeld as a «mentor».

But why could Scott make sense at Chanel? Although the American designer's name is considered a wild card, many noticed how Scott's final show for Moschino was a direct reference to Chanel, a sort of possible “simulation” of what the designer might create working on the codes of the brand run until a few days ago by Virginie Viard. Indeed, it is currently difficult to imagine the almost noisy, extremely pop Jeremy Scott moving in the cushioned and aristocratic world of Chanel. But it must be remembered that in his ten years at Moschino, Scott has on one hand worked on the codes of a brand for which exuberance and irony were founding pillars, but also obeying the commercial needs of a brand that made frivolity its signature, in the midst of the noisy, informal streetwear era. From a technical point of view, from the conception of a show to the thematic cohesion of his collections, Scott has certainly demonstrated over the years a great mastery in reinterpreting the “old” icons of glamour (case in point: some of his latest shows for Moschino, like FW22 or SS23) and creating engaging, witty narratives capable, in short, of lightening the image of a brand like Chanel, which in recent years has taken on a seriousness that hasn't helped on social media or red carpets.