Last week fashion designer L’Wren Scott took her own life. The imposing former model (she was 6’3″) hung herself in her NYC apartment, with a black silk scarf attached to a doorknob. According to one police officer at the scene, hanging by doorknob is not uncommon and proves to be an effective method. Reportedly, the scarf was one from her own line.
Ms. Scott started a women’s clothing line in 2006 and became an instant success with celebrities such as Nicole Kidman and Sarah Jessica Parker. But it seems, sadly, her designs were less appealing to the average woman as the business was failing and, according to Cathy Horyn, fashion journalist and friend of Ms. Scott, she was soon to announce its closure.
Of course there has been a lot of talk about why the designer, known for her effervescence, ended her life. Was it the failing business? Her long-time relationship with Mick Jagger? Depression? The media hasn’t mentioned it, but some followers of the story have suggested that perhaps it wasn’t suicide but instead something sexual gone amiss. No one really wants to venture there, including me.
It’s not why in general that has me pondering, it’s why the scarf?
The use of a scarf is just so darn, well – chic, apt, even poetic. It calls to mind the dancer Isadora Duncan in 1927, who while traveling in an open convertible was strangled to death by her own long trailing scarf, which got caught in the spokes of one of the wheels. How dramatic. How memorable.
It just strikes me as poignant that a piece of fabric designed to adorn is used instead to destroy. So I wonder, was the scarf not specifically chosen but simply what was at hand? That would be fitting for a jet-setting woman who used a $5000 Louis Vuitton handbag as a footrest. Fashionables surrounded by luxuries needn’t reach too far for a lovely silk scarf.
Suppose there was more intent to the scarf. Selected out of practicality, because it felt softer around the neck. For style, because she liked scarves. Perhaps she meant it as a final (ironic) nod to the fashion world. If indeed the scarf was one from her own line, then what better a metaphor. Her business literally choked her to death.
Intended or not, the scarf is a memorable detail to Ms. Scott’s suicide story, as it is with Ms. Duncan’s untimely death. How many of us will pause just a moment the next time we tie a band of fabric around our necks?
My condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Scott. May she rest in peace.