When the statuesque fashion designer L’Wren Scott took her own life in March 2014 at the age of 49, the fashion world was in shock. Her sleek, timeless creations were favorites of the Hollywood set, including Nicole Kidman and Penélope Cruz. The former model seemed to understand glamour from the inside out, creating elegant, deceptively simple gowns that concealed their meticulous construction.
Recently, fashionistas got to see some of her creations up close when Christie’s London auctioned off 55 of her most iconic gowns. The sale was dotted with the long, lean silhouettes for which Scott became famous as well as elaborate stage costumes and even designs she wore herself. The auction took in £366,625, shattering estimates and drawing interest from bidders across the globe.
Garnering special attention were two highly detailed stage jackets she designed for longtime partner Mick Jagger, who along with Scott’s family brought the entire collection to auction. The Rolling Stones rocker donned the oak leaf “glamouflage” jacket for a 2013 Glastonbury performance and wore the butterfly jacket at a Hyde Park concert that same year.
“These jackets had to be comfortable and had to withstand Jagger’s famously athletic performances, so additional seams and strengthening elements were included inside,” explains Christie’s London Private & Iconic Collections Head of Sale Caitlin Yates. Amid fierce bidding, the jackets sold for double their estimates, fetching £62,500 and £60,000 respectively.
Perhaps the most eye-catching design on the auction block was a couture kimono tailcoat Scott created for herself. Complete with scarlet lining, the elongated back featured a profusion of embroidered wisteria vines. Scott wore the ensemble to the 2013 British Fashion Awards, where she turned heads on the red carpet. “What might surprise people about her is that she was making clothing by the age of 12, as she was already over six feet tall and couldn’t find pieces to fit her,” Yates notes. The ensemble sold for £32,500, more than 10 times the estimate.
As it turned out, one of the most sought-after designs in the sale was also one of the most understated: a nude sequin sheath dress from Scott’s Under My Skin collection. Nicole Kidman wore the figure-hugging frock for the premiere of Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus at the 2006 Rome International Film Festival. It took in £8,125, eight times the estimate.
But the biggest surprise of the auction was a 1940s-style dinner dress with pink sequins worn by Madonna. It sold for £62,500 — more than 78 times the estimate. All proceeds from the sale supported the L’Wren Scott Fashion Scholarship at Central Saint Martins in London, with a mission of inspiring the next generation of fashion designers.