NYFW Show Report: Marc Jacobs

16 February 2010

The cavernous venue for the Marc Jacobs show was completely lined with cardboard, roughly tacked onto the walls. At the head of the runway there was a huge box wrapped in brown paper. The vast room smelled like a stationery shop and was vaguely reminiscent of new books, sharpened pencils and the first day of term.

At precisely 8pm, a sharp suited Marc Jacobs came out front and ripped the paper from the box to reveal the models assembled in grid formation in his new collection. An immediate impression was: grey, A line, soft textures, feminine/masculine and all on low or flat shows.

A sonorous voice spoke of storm clouds passing and rainbows and promises and rays of hope. There are just too many crises in the world right now to imagine which in particular might have been the motivation for the inspirational words. But when the soundtrack turned out to be a series of artists singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow, the message seemed clear that Marc Jacobs was looking for the pin prick of light at the end of a tunnel of gloomy news. And while he was looking for it he proposed a show that was as refreshing as sparkling water.

Neat, fitted grey jackets over mid calf length a line skirts, low heeled reptile shoes and doctor bags rounded out the message in the simple set. The designer was on a quest for  innocence and femininity. Pale grey A line coats with narrow shoulders over longer A line skirts and those low heeled shoes again worn with ankle socks looked modest and unpretentious. He introduced luxury with fluffy collars of Mongolian lamb and furry chain handled bags. But then he took it all back in an understated full length gown made of t shirt jersey.
A shot of colour came in chartreuse sequined floor length evening skirt but the potential glamour in that was underplayed by styling it with a mannish sweater. The masculine feminine theme underscored the entire collection with mannish coats over feminine dresses or a tailored three piece suit cut to fit a feminine form. Apart from those sharp trousers, the silhouette was mostly about a gentle volume. The femininity was girlish even nerdy as clear rimmed specs and tousled hair completed the bookish look.

The finale section was a series of crisp, prom worthy, taffeta gowns in washed out chintzy prints. It was tender and feminine. And given that fashion week plays out against a backdrop of world events that make new clothes irrelevant, there was an admirable humility in the way Marc Jacobs chose to communicate.  

- Paula Reed in New York

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