L’Wren Scott, who left her rural Utah home as a teenager to become a model in Paris, then a top Hollywood stylist and finally a high-end fashion designer best known as the longtime girlfriend of Mick Jagger, has died.
Scott was found dead in her Manhattan apartment at 10am on Monday; no note was found and there was no sign of foul play, police said. The designer had texted her assistant 90 minutes earlier and asked her to come to her apartment but didn’t say why.
Her spokesperson requested privacy for her family and friends. Just last month Scott, who was believed to be 49 but had not disclosed her precise age, cancelled her London Fashion Week show, due to reported production delays.
Jagger’s representative said the singer was “completely shocked and devastated by the news”.
Scott, whose elegant designs in lush fabrics were favoured by celebrities like Madonna, Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey, Penelope Cruz and first lady Michelle Obama, was a fixture on Jagger’s arm since she met the Rolling Stones frontman in 2001. On red carpets, the striking 6-foot-3 (1.9 metres) designer towered over her famous boyfriend.
In 2006, five years after they became a couple, Scott founded her eponymous label, with an initial collection based on the “Little Black Dress”.
She became known for designs that had a vintage feel and bared little skin, like her famous “headmistress” dress – prim, with three-quarter sleeves, but also close-fitting and stylish.
Madonna was one of those who wore the dress. “This is a horrible and tragic loss,” the singer said in a statement released by her publicist.
“I’m so upset. I loved L’Wren’s work and she was always so generous with me.”
Kidman and L’Wren were friends for 25 years and the Australian star is said to be devastated.
“Nicole is heartbroken and in shock right now and unable to say anything,” a representative for Kidman told Rumorfix.com on Monday.
In 2009 Scott introduced a shoe collection, and in 2010 she collaborated with Lancome on a make-up line and a fragrance. In 2011 came a handbag line, in 2012 an eyewear collection, and late last year, a collaboration with Banana Republic for a line of affordable clothes.
Though her studio is based in London, Scott presented her runway shows in New York until recently. They were exclusive A-list affairs like few others.
Rest in peace, L’Wren Scott. You’ll forever be missed.
— Marc Jacobs Intl (@MarcJacobsIntl) March 17, 2014
In February 2012, for example, the designer welcomed guests into the wood-panelled, chandeliered banquet hall of an Edwardian building in Chelsea. Guests were offered white wine in flutes as they entered, then were seated at a long table. Before them were plates of caviar, served with a baked potato and sour cream. Fiddling with the lighting and the technical details was none other than Jagger, who also stood next to Scott during post-show interviews.
Adding to the sense of luxury, Scott was known to send large bouquets of roses and handwritten notes of thanks to reporters afterward.
Her clothes were luxurious, too, making ample use of velvet and satin. There were bolero jackets and tea-length dresses, long capes – lined in feathers, perhaps – and high-waisted pencil skirts.
Scott’s designs were “very (much) based on her own personal style … a very interesting style that combined the strict and the sexy,” said Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
“Not sexiness like body exposure, but sexiness like a very strict governess. They tended to be covered up yet form-fitting and beautifully constructed, beautifully made.” Steele said Scott’s clothes were “were more sophisticated than the average red carpet gown” and added that Scott “had a very precise vision of what she wanted them to look like”.
Editors at top fashion magazines like Vogue and Glamour declined on Monday to discuss her influence on fashion – or anything else about her in the wake of her death.
Scott was adopted by Mormon parents and raised in Roy, Utah, which had a population of less than 10,000 at the time.
She made her way to Paris after high school where, helped by her height and striking looks, she found work as a model for some prominent photographers.
But she became more interested in working with clothes than modelling them, and eventually made her name as a top stylist in Los Angeles and also a costume designer for films like Ocean’s 13.
Last month, make-up artist Bobbi Brown collaborated with Scott on a cosmetics line called the Bobbi Brown x L’Wren Scott Collection.
“I am devastated by the tragic news about L’Wren,” Brown said on her website.
“She was a visionary designer who I very much enjoyed working with, but she was also smart and kind.”
Mick Jagger’s 22 year-old daughter with Jerry Hall, Georgia May Jagger, today cancelled her appearance at this week’s Melbourne Fashion Festival to fly back to the States. Jagger’s ex-wife, Bianca, also paid tribute to her ex-husband’s girlfriend.
Heartbroken to learn of the loss of the lovely and talented L’Wren Scott. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. May she rest in peace
— Bianca Jagger (@BiancaJagger) March 17, 2014