L’Wren Scott, the world’s nude shoe guru
WHAT do we know about L’Wren Scott? The tall, willowy stylist-turned-designer is probably, rightly or wrongly, best known for being Mick Jagger’s partner. The pair have been together for more than a decade – she, more often than not, photographed towering over the wrinkly Rolling Stone, both grinning widely – two cats that got the cream.
Talking of height, you might also happen to know she stands a statuesque 6ft 3in in her bare feet (Jagger is 5ft 10in). Despite that splendid form, she’s the girl who told us all that, to lengthen our legs, we should wear shoes to match our tights. Scott is the world’s nude shoe guru.
Adopted into a deeply religious Mormon family in even deeper Utah, not-so-little Luann Bambrough (she was already 5ft 11in by the time she was 12) was a girl who loved fashion, and who dreamed of a life less ordinary.
“My mother was very elegant and chic and had fabulous style,” she says. “She was quite minimalist and loved colour. As a child, I always loved making dresses for my dolls and I grew up with a passion for fashion but, where I lived, you had to order Vogue magazine, and I went to pattern stores to see the latest home dressmaking patterns from Vogue and Butterick so I could make my own clothes.
“I was tall, so I couldn’t find ready-to-wear clothes that were long enough. I would buy old vintage dresses in beautiful silk moiré and taffeta, and recut them to suit my proportions.”
She admits to being self-conscious about her stature but, undeterred, come her 18th birthday she reinvented herself, name and everything, and packed up for Paris to pursue a career where her height might be less of a drawback: modelling.
“I don’t think I realised the extremes of my proportions until I moved to Paris,” she says. “I thought I’d be ‘normal’ as a model, but actually, even in that world, I was at one end of the spectrum.”
She did, however, learn how to dress cunningly to look her absolute best. “When I went to the Paris ateliers, I learned the secrets and importance of fitting clothes perfectly. When a garment is in sync with your body and its proportions, it looks and feels amazing, and in France that is something all women know from a young age.”
From modelling she moved to Los Angeles and became a costume designer and celebrity stylist – dressing the likes of Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Christina Hendricks and Penélope Cruz for the red carpet – then designer, creating, as she describes it, “classic and feminine clothing with a rock and roll touch”.
Her first collection, in 2006, was called Little Black Dress and was made entirely in black. She then moved into shoes, fragrance, handbags and eyewear. But the focus remains on the clothing – sexy, figure-hugging, it looks as though it’s made for the tall, lean girl, but she insists it works for anyone.
“I don’t live by rules,” she says. “I believe you must have your own style and stick to it; just keep it current. Women come in all shapes and sizes, that’s what I love about my job – making sure there is something for everyone. We have curvy customers and petite and tall. It’s funny because I don’t think I ever consider height when I work on anything, I just think about women and what can enhance their beauty.”
Last year she created a capsule collection for US high street store Banana Republic, a project she found liberating. “I enjoyed the big machine behind it. When you’re a small luxury brand, being able to design something with an entire new audience is really exciting, and it’s always interesting to see how other people work and what they gravitate towards.”
This season she has collaborated again, this time for a make-up collection with Bobbi Brown. The two power players bonded over tea at the British Embassy, at a lunch in Brown’s honour, and a few months later the pair discussed Brown doing the make-up for Scott’s runway show. “It all came from there and I said, ‘For next season why not do specific colours based around the forthcoming collection?’ So we worked well in advance and used my signature rose, amnesia, as the muse.”
The lilac blooms – known as the Queen of Roses – grow around Scott’s home in France, and when Brown arrived in London last year to work on the designer’s debut Fashion Week show, she received an enormous bunch as a thank you. “I said I was already working on the next collection,” says Scott, “and thought we should consider creating a palette for it. A couple of weeks later, I flew to New York and we worked on the colours together. I wanted a pale matte grey and a silver lilac sparkle shadow for sensual, bright smokey eyes, then a darker purple to create a sultrier look for evening.
“Then there are pretty, soft, shimmery pinks and nudes in between to add feminine drama. You have to have a nude as it’s so signature Bobbi.
“I am crazy about the four creamy matte lip stains – and the rose gold casing is so elegant. The dark wine colour is sensual and dramatic, and my models wore it in the show in September. The Vintage Red is a true classic red that is a go-to shade whenever you need that ‘trick up my sleeve’ moment. The Cosmic Lily Pink is a really pretty, feminine pink and there isn’t a skin tone it doesn’t look great on. And the Heather Mauve is a paler beige that is fabulous for everyday.”
Her own beauty secrets, she says, are simple: “I have learned over the years that if you take care of your complexion, everything else is easier. You have to start with healthy skin and eat properly and exercise.
“In terms of my daily make-up, I prefer to be low maintenance. It’s always worth having a lesson from a trained make-up artist, who can teach you techniques that really work on your face. I think when you are young and you don’t really need make-up, you wear too much: I couldn’t get enough of it in my teens. Then, in my twenties, I hardly wore it. I didn’t wear foundation until I was in my thirties.”
Now aged 47, she still looks stop-in-your-tracks stunning – the result, she says, of 20 minutes’ exercise five times a week. “I ride a bike, or use an elliptical trainer. It’s really important to be active so I walk a lot, take the stairs rather than the elevator and play tennis. I feel grumpy and fatigued if I’m not active, and feel energised if I am.”
She adds: “I am a three-meals-a-day girl: if I don’t eat properly I am not focused. I ensure I eat really well: lots of protein, and during Fashion Week I drink lots of juiced vegetables. I believe breakfast is important, so I load up in the morning. Eggs and bacon would be my ideal start to the day.”
But, just before you screech in horror, she adds, in true fashionista style: “I don’t eat bacon daily, and prefer egg whites.”
More than those endless legs, however; more than her tumbling brunette locks and rock star arm candy, she believes what makes women truly beautiful is their confidence – something she has in spades. “When someone feels confident, she shines. When I do my job as a designer, I focus on designing clothing so my customer feels fabulous in a dress and feels confident going out and owning it.”
Today she’ll be showing her AW14 collection as part of London Fashion Week and, as a sneak preview, she will only say: “I would hate to give anything away, but you know I love colour.”
The Amnesia Rose Collection costs from £18, (www.bobbibrown.co.uk)