About a year ago I stumbled upon the textile designs of fashion designer Ken Scott. I was immediately drawn to the vibrant colors and bold florals rendered in a loose, painterly style. Very much in the style of Emilio Pucci and Vera Neumann and at its peak in the 1960’s. But why had I never heard of him before? Rizzoli just released a book chronicling his career and vast artistic output – simply titled “Ken Scott.” It is a revelation! But it really shocks me that he has been so under the radar. I am slightly annoyed that I haven’t seen his work sooner. It seems like a major omission in my own education and knowledge of textile designers and history. Maybe that seems a bit much but once you see the prints you may agree…
Ken Scott had a rich and storied life, starting out as a painter and then finding much success as a fabric designer before delving into fashion. An American, he lived his adult life primarily in Italy and Mexico, hobnobbing with the likes of Peggy Guggenheim. His fashions were modeled in the pages of Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, and Life Magazine by women such as Audrey Hepburn, Monica Vitti and Brigitte Bardot (to name only a few). But in this post I’m primarily interested in sharing and promoting images of the work, not delving into the details of his life & career, except to also bring attention to Susan Nevelson. Nevelson worked as a print/pattern designer for Scott for over 50 years. It is difficult to discern how many of the designs were painted by Scott versus Nevelson based on what I have read, but I get the sense that Ken Scott “the brand” would not be Ken Scott without Susan Nevelson.
Nevelson and Scott were great friends and worked side by side for decades. I think it is important for Nevelson to receive the same recognition for helping to create the Ken Scott “look” which was characterized by bold use of color, countless punchy florals and geometrics that were ahead of their time. The prints not only were used for women’s and men’s fashion but also on scarves and home furnishings such as bedding and tabletop. Scott also designed some incredible interiors, but I’ll save that for another post.
Nevelson worked as a textile designer into her early 90’s which is a great inspiration. And clearly she had a lot of style and a joie de vivre which is worth celebrating. The Palazzo Pitti Museo del Costume featured Nevelson in the recent exhibit “Women in the Spotlight.”