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Defining a life; the tragic death of L'Wren Scott

Posted on 19 March 2014

L'Wren Scott Harper's Bazaar
L'Wren Scott Harper's Bazaar

 

"You'll see the most perfect person and you are like, God, she's, like, perfect. And then she'll tell you everything that's not perfect. Everyone has their own special set of problems--in their own minds. The gig, is 98 percent psychology."  L'Wren Scott source

 

 

Disclaimer #1:  I am not a psychologist. Disclaimer #2:  I never knew L'Wren Scott.  

 

L'Wren Scott with Mick Jagger
L'Wren Scott with Mick Jagger

 

We know her as L'Wren Scott, but Laura “Luann” Bambrough was born in 1967 and was raised by her adoptive Mormon family in Roy, Utah.  She died on Monday of an apparent suicide and it has been a shock to anyone connected to the fashion world. 

 

 

Some of the touching adjectives people have used in tribute to her include: perfectionist, strong,  confident, powerful, generous, gracious, kind, fun, fiercely modern, beautiful,  rare, wonderful, talented  brilliant, elegant, original, amazing soul, talented artist , epitome of elegance and femininity, girlish and an unbelievably giving friend.

 

Harper's Bazaar Victor Demarchelier
Harper's Bazaar Victor Demarchelier

 

The News, twitter and facebook headlines made a lot of people, including me, very angry.

 "Mick Jagger's girlfriend found dead" "L'Wren Scott, Mick Jagger's girlfriend and fashion stylist dead, " "Rolling Stone's tour On Hold - Mick Jagger's girlfriend commits suicide" "Fashion designer L'Wren Scott dead, Mick Jagger devastated."

What would L'Wren Scott think about the sum of her life being described as someone's "girlfriend" and/or a fashion designer.

 

 

From the perspective of those of us looking at her world from our very limited viewpoint, her life looked like the stuff dreams are made of.  The 6'3 beauty, affectionately called "Glamazon",  who owned her own company, dated a rock icon and traveled around the world on a private jet seemed to truly have it all.  Most of us believed that L'Wren Scott had written a fairy tale of a life story.  So, on March, 17, 2014, when she shockingly took her own life,  he world was left wondering what could have made someone with so much seemingly going her way, go to a place of feeling such hopelessness and despair.

 

L'Wren Scott fashion event
L'Wren Scott fashion event

Scott started out as a model, moving to Paris when she was only 19, then returned to the US to become one of Hollywood's most influential celebrity stylists, and then she launched her own successful clothing line. Her personal life seemed magical.  Her Instagram account was filled with glamorous images of a life of exotic locations, private jets yachts and romance.

 

 

Her designs were meant to make women look and feel beautiful.  Trend wasn't her focus, she cared about proportions, color, fit,  and was strongly influenced by her surroundings.  Her years as a stylist played a vital role in her design aesthetic . She learned a lot about what women want to wear and what makes them feel confident and invincible. 

 

 

"I've been following my business plan from the day I set out. I have a strategy about how I see my company growing. It might not be everyone else's idea of how you grow a company, but in hindsight, looking at everything that's happening in the world, it was probably good that I trusted my instincts and stuck to what I believed in: OK, stay on the path, don't sacrifice quality over quantity, and don't do too much too soon.” Smiling, she says, “Not to quote Frank Sinatra, but I wanted to do it my way.” source

 

Scott's Fall Winter 2013 collection
Scott's Fall Winter 2013 collection

Even with all of the bells and whistles of affluence, L'Wren Scott seemed, somehow, more grounded, unassuming, responsible, even humble.  A sort of paradox when you think of the image of strength and confidence she portrayed.

 

Banana Republic ad campaign for L'Wren Scott's line
Banana Republic ad campaign for L'Wren Scott's line

 

She had a deal with Banana Republic, a Lancome make-up collection, and other business ventures that seemed on track to maximize her brand potential.

 

L'Wren Scott Lancome collection
L'Wren Scott Lancome collection

 

L'Wren Scott with Mark Lee, CEO of Barney's New York
L'Wren Scott with Mark Lee, CEO of Barney's New York

 

L'Wren Scott with Elizabeth Taylor and photographer Herb Ritts.-  White Diamonds Campaign.
L'Wren Scott with Elizabeth Taylor and photographer Herb Ritts.-  White Diamonds Campaign.

She was the focus of countless magazine features and covers, and became as visible and recognizable as her designs themselves. It seemed that people never tired of seeing the epitome of glamour named L'Wren Scott.

 

 

She was her brand and her own best marketing tool. She was seen regularly with celebrities like Ellen Barkin, Daphne Guinness, Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicole Kidman.

 

Karl Lagerfeld with L'Wren Scott
Karl Lagerfeld with L'Wren Scott

 

Scott with Sarah Jessica Parker
Scott with Sarah Jessica Parker

 

With Daphne Guinness
With Daphne Guinness

 

Some of the most famous women in the world wore her clothing including Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Obama, Nicole Kidman, Tina Fey, Angelina Jolie, Christina Hendricks, Ivanka Trump, Naomi Campbell, Ellen Barkin, Daphne Guinness, and Sarah Jessica Parker.

 

 

The life that L'Wren Scott had entered and partially created was a long way from the one lived by that little girl from Utah who made her own clothing because she couldn't find anything that fit her statuesque frame.

 

L'Wren Scott as a teenager.
L'Wren Scott as a teenager

 

L'Wren (far right) with her family in Roy, Utah
L'Wren (far right) with her family in Roy, Utah

 

L'Wren in the 1980's in Paris iwearing Thierry Mugler
L'Wren in the 1980's in Paris wearing Thierry Mugler
In Vogue Italia - (Scott had 42
In Vogue Italia - (Scott had 42" long legs)
L'Wren Scott in a 1980s fashion shoot for Thierry Mugler in the Sahara
L'Wren Scott in a 1980s fashion shoot for Thierry Mugler in the Sahara
L'Wren Scott as a model in her first Chanel Couture fashion show
L'Wren Scott as a model in her first Chanel Couture fashion show
L'Wren Scott in her office in LA
L'Wren Scott in her office in LA

L'Wren Scott seemed to have gotten the life she always wanted, but maybe that life became a bigger burden than she had ever anticipated.  It's hard to always be glamorous, it's hard to always be on top of your game creatively, to always be a vision of empowerment,  to be the "it" girl, to be "Mick Jagger's girlfriend."  The more you are recognized for whatever it is you are or do the higher the stakes, and the standards.  Even with the rumors that have inevitably started to claim that she was depressed over finances, her relationship, her business, etc.. I wonder if it was just too much to be L'Wren Scott.  The image she had so carefully created required a level of strength and perfection that was a super-human, full time job to maintain. I'm writing this in my leggings and a black tee shirt - my standard uniform of comfort.  I wonder if L'Wren Scott ever got tired and wanted to be okay with just being Luann Bambrough, even if only for a day.

 

 

It is dangerous to define yourself by titles, accomplishments, wealth, beauty, popularity or vocations. Those things are fleeting, changeable and subjective at best. If L'Wren Scott could have written her own headline, I'm certain it would have been very different from those we have seen so far.  Her work, which consumed her life and her time, was still, at the end of the day, only work, and she definitely wasn't just a girlfriend. 

 

Bryan Adams Photograher
Bryan Adams Photograher

I'm pretty sure of something else -  my death won't be announced on Twitter and won't make the front page of, well, anything. Though my husband loves The Stones and plays a mean air guitar, he definitely isn't a rock star,  so no one will care enough to call me "Simon's wife" .  I don't think that "vintage clothing dealer" is sexy enough to start trending anywhere.  So, to be honest, if by some miracle, the world decided I deserved a headline, it wouldn't be that exciting. The things about me that would make the most interesting headlines, (the movies on which I've collaborated with costume designers , my higher profile customers, the important pieces of clothing I've sold, etc).. would say the least about who I am.  I'm told I'm creative, but in the end..who cares? My identity and life would be best summed up by  the things I care about and have tried to change in this world, and the people I have tried to love well. That's really all there is that matters - the rest is only a cleverly crafted illusion.

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