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CURATED BY Venetia Scott

As her first solo exhibition at 5 Carlos Place opens, the renowned stylist and photographer reflects on her 30-year career in fashion, and showcases her exclusive edit of pieces.

Photographs by Kim Sion.

Venetia Scott's imagery transports the spectator to commonplace settings, hypnotising them with the intense stares of the women who inhabit them. For those open-faced girls, the possibilities seem endless – but also in the movable feast of her creativity, which has seen her take on many different roles in a career spanning more than three decades.

‘My father was a military attaché so we were always moving to different countries,’ photographer and stylist Venetia Scott says of her early life. ‘I was packed off to boarding school in Salisbury, England, aged seven. It was quite an insular environment with very little going on, which was probably a good place for imagination and for an internal world to develop.’

The past 30 years have seen Scott share this richly imaginative internal world through fashion in her different roles. Although the switch from styling to photography via creative direction – and back and forth again – may seem stark, she characterises it more as a gentle creative ebb and flow; creating emotive images with or without a camera in her hand. ‘I’ve crossed over job boundaries to keep things interesting and to still feel excited, scared or challenged,’ she explains. ‘At the moment, I photograph, direct moving image, fashion direct British Vogue and work as a freelance stylist for magazines. I also style and consult with designers on shows.’

Designer Marc Jacobs is just one of the names who has called on her over the years – resulting in a partnership that saw her become creative director of Marc Jacobs and the Marc by Marc Jacobs line for over a decade from 2001.

Introduced to fashion by her mother’s friend, who was the the living editor at Vogue, Scott joined the team working under the magazine’s formidable editor-in-chief Beatrix Miller and renowned fashion editor Grace Coddington, whom she assisted. ‘When she left for New York, I went freelance,’ Scott explains of Coddington’s departure to US Vogue. ‘I started styling for The Face, i-D, Arena and Italian Vogue. I met Juergen Teller in 1989 and worked alongside him for the next 14 years.’

Understated is a good catch-all for Scott’s personal style, which has a touch of the unexpected: an unusual colour combination; a play with proportion on classic silhouettes; a dazzling detail to finish. Noting the more customary fashion-industry staples of ‘navy cashmere jumper, high-waisted jeans and high-heeled boots’ within her five wardrobe staples, Scott rounds off the list with a ‘black velvet dress and rhinestone hair clips’. Her favourite labels, too, meld the classic and the playful: ‘My go-tos for day would be Gucci, Prada and Celine, and for evening, Valentino, Givenchy and Chanel.’

Softly spoken and measured in her words, Scott’s eyes light up when reflecting on the images she has created over the years – some of which are edited and curated for a new exhibition set to be unveiled at MATCHESFASHION.COM’s Mayfair townhouse, 5 Carlos Place. Hosted in partnership with Sion & Moore gallery, the showcase is Scott’s first ever solo exhibition and saw the photographer crop into photographs from her archive to reframe the image focusing on the women – rather than the clothes or surroundings. 'I started zooming in on the faces of girls in my images and realised that by pairing down the information – narrative and location – what was left was a very frank and direct look to camera, which emphasised the relationship between myself and the subject.'

Still based in London despite travelling widely for her job, Scott has crafted a lifestyle that allows for plenty of movement and constant change. ‘If I’m in London I will start the day with a walk around Kensington and Hyde Park with my dog Kip,’ she says. ‘Usually with a coffee and toast by the Serpentine. The rest of the day could be spent doing research for photoshoots or for designers, casting, scouting locations, set design, shooting, editing, printing and layouts. My favourite things to do are spending time with Lola, taking photos, walking, swimming, being by the sea, watching movies, reading, hanging out with friends and good dinners.’

Despite a career of movement and variety, Scott is happy to return home – a ‘combined studio and living space, which is like a giant barn,’ she says. ‘At home, I like things to be functional and not too decorative, which probably does reflect my style.’

Over the past 30 years the imagery Venetia has created has evolved, ‘Working as both the photographer and editor on a shoot gives me a 360 view, I have the direct relationship with the model and I am able to bring all the elements together to complete the picture.’

Fragile Face Lay Flat is at 5 Carlos Place, London, Monday 16 September - Saturday 28 September.



The Style Report
The Style Report