#SuzyNYFW: Marc Jacobs – Mixing Past And Present
Like some noble tribe, with turbaned heads held high and clothes that were a rainbow coalition of unexpected colours, the figures in the Marc Jacobs show made a powerful fashion statement.
At the close of an eight-day New York fashion season without much significant design, Jacobs produced a strong collection that referenced his past, yet avoided being a retrospective. The clothes draped and shaped the body, pitting a slender dress against loose, flowing casual wear; or a bold, ethnic print alongside a sophisticated skirt glittering with gilding.
An entire outfit from dress to sandals might be decorated with fruit and flowers suggesting an ode to nature. And the way the models walked around the cavernous hall, with no soundtrack except the tinkle of decorative beading or a rustle of fabric, could have been a parade of a wondrous tribe dedicated only to beauty.
The echoing, empty building – with guests sitting in a single line of chairs tracing the perimeter of the vast space – was more like a homage to womanhood than a slick fashion statement.
“While friends vacationed, we took a holiday in our heads and went somewhere, twisting fantasy into reality through exaggerated, decadent and exotic sportswear silhouettes,” was the Marc Jacobs explanation, suggesting that the turbans might be more sports accessories than specific to any country.
Tributes in this fashion week to designer Perry Ellis, who died in 1986 but whose fashion label is celebrating 50 years, must have touched Jacobs who took over as the company’s designer until he was fired in 1993 for introducing grunge to fashion.
The show explored the founding figures of the Jacobs fashion tribe. So there was a touch of goofy, childish magic, as in cut-out flowers patterning a hooded top, trousers, a gym bag and even shoes. But there was also regular tailoring – say a smart checked suit with a hint of the 1980s. The scale of the collection switched from an impeccable cape jacket and skirt as part of a block of tailoring to a flock of softly draped dresses.
The designer referred to elements from his past: the inspiration of the “legendary” Kate (Moss’s) 2012 Met Ball look; Sofia (Coppola’s) desire to have her portrait taken in a turban; and Katie (Grand’s) instinct to take the girls from last season and “turn them out”. Of the three inspirations, the turbans concocted by Stephen Jones were the masterpieces.
The scale of the collection showed Jacobs on form after a few wayward seasons and, in a dull New York fashion week, he gave a memorable show.