"I was a baby!" exclaimed Jeremy Scott, shocked by the idea that he might have been old enough to party in 80s New York, the spiritual home of his spring/summer 17 collection.
When Jean-Michel Basquiat and Madonna were at large on the seedy, run-down streets of the Lower East Side, Scott was in grade school in Kansas City, Missouri but the photos and music that memorialize that era of glamorous grit, of Danceteria and Pyramid Club, loom large for the designer. "This collection was a love letter to New York," Scott explained of his collection backstage this morning.
"I was thinking about the pictures you see of how it was seedy, dirty, and kind of scary the city was in the 80s," he continued. "People were wearing a kind of sexier S&M look on the street. They had a tough attitude, but mixed with a kind of party atmosphere."
An aggressive acid streak certainly ran through the collection. The first phase was all neon pink and slick black vinyl, punctuated by zippers and shot through with safety pins. Slouchy sweaters, worn over thigh-squeezing mini skirts, were printed with faces made-up with the kind of futuristic airbrushed blush and insane eyeliner arcs immortalized by Liquid Sky. Scott also made playful nods to the filth of the Koch-era city with intarsia knits patterned like apartment buildings dripping with green gunk. "Slime City" read one model's sweater in gloopy graffiti letters.
Phase two of the selection took the geometric shapes of 80s clubwear and album covers to their literal conclusion. One model's outfit was a giant blue circle. Not a circle-shaped dress or a circle-shaped skirt; an actual circle. It was covered in blue sequins and wrapped around her like a glamorous disco taco. "It's sort of like a spaceship landed on a party dress. It's like a UFO party dress," said Scott. Other silhouettes which he debuted today: the pyramid pencil skirt — a black sequined creation that made its wearer look like a walking Patrick Nagel illustration — and a kind of ring-system dress, in which a figure-hugging dress is bisected by a horizontal circle. You could rest your drink on it in the club.
While Scott may not have been of legal age for the real 80s in New York City, his version is at least as fun.
Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Photography Mitchell Sams