NYFW S/S '11 report: Marc Jacobs

14 September 2010

Is that the whiff of fear I smell in the air or are there just a lot of halternecks and flares around? As a follow up to last season's barnstorming exercise in modern classics, Marc Jacobs, New York fashion week’s hottest ticket, took us back to the 1970's. It wasn't that he was influenced by the decade so much as he painstakingly transposed the wardrobes of Taxi Driver, Scarface, Saturday Night Fever and just about every stylish woman who ever shared a banquette with Andy Warhol at Studio 54 into a collection for S/S ‘11.

The setting was the cavernous military hall of the Lexington Armoury with the usual scrum to get in. At 7.55 the queue of editors and buyers was snaking around the building. At 8.03 the first model appeared on the runway as last invitees in skittered across the wooden floor to their seats. Someone is clearly having a laugh here.

New York City feels subdued. It's never been good at being broke. London ploughs on because most people have no money a lot of the time. But NY is about big money and when the city is without, it feels flat. And in reaction the designers are retreating into the foetal position of 1970's nostalgia. Even Marc Jacobs!

So the huge Frank Stella-esque sculptural centrepiece was where we said goodbye to the 21st century at this show. Once the (Vivaldi) music started there followed a collection that took us on a tour of the best of the last decade that struggled with lean times and louche living.

And on the way, we took in highlights of YSL, with stiff cotton peasant skirts and off the shoulder tops in purple and raspberry or pink and khaki colour combos. There was a nod to Missoni in skinny multicoloured knits; Walter Albini in the geometric prints; Biba in the jewel satin flares and skinny shirts and Bill Gibb in the billowy dresses. 

Pinwheel straw hats, platform stacked heel sandals, clutch bags with jewelled clasps and huge silk orchid corsages were the finishing touches to a collection that was less about dressing and more about dressing up.       

- Paula Reed in New York


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