So NY fashion week ends, and we wend our weary way through mid town traffic and onto the next city (London….. hurray!). It’s been a good week in Manhattan with lots of highlights that have included Proenza Schouler’s Mad Men in Africa; Calvin Klein’s softer side; Olivier Theyskens’ slouchy new cool; takeaway curry with Oscar De Le Renta; new best frow friends, Nicki Minaj and Anna Wintour and karaoke with Valentino. We’ve had a lot of fun.
But before it was over we had one final hurdle: the extreme fashion challenge that is a Marc Jacobs show. This season he delayed it by 48 hours because adverse weather conditions disrupted his preparations.
So we changed our flights and waited for Marc. And for the Brits this also meant that a fair number of senior editors would be absent for the first day of London fashion week missing the shows of designers with a fraction of the resources of Marc Jacobs. But schedules and airline penalties are a mere bagatelle when there’s a whiff of a great dress and a good story. And Marc is the story this season.
That rumour that he is about to replace John Galliano as designer at Christian Dior just won’t go away. To add another layer of intrigue on Wednesday Yves Carcelle, the highly regarded CEO at Louis Vuitton, Marc’s current Paris home, resigned, apparently abruptly, to be replaced by Jordi Constans, from the yoghurt people, Danone. Some said he was due to retire anyway. Others speculated that he was unhappy to lose his designer before a suitable successor was in place. The timing of the announcement did nothing to silence the speculation that has had the fashion community a twitter for weeks.
There was a time when Marc Jacobs shows used to run up to two hours late. The editors gave him hell for it (fair enough you might say). So he has been making a point ever since and now he locks out anyone who doesn’t make it inside on the dot of the appointed hour. (I cut it too fine a few seasons ago and just managed to watch from the back through Lady Gaga's hat). This season a few dozen
invited guests who fell foul of mid town traffic got locked outside on the street.
The show seemed to confirm the suspicion that Marc’s mind was elsewhere this season (negotiating contracts perhaps?) for the dresses embroidered with layers iridescent of paillettes were a variation on last season’s theme. The cellophane bustle skirts and transparent cowboy boots had echoes of last season's fashion fetishism at Vuitton. The techno check coats and drop waisted dresses were pretty. But we have come to expect more: a collection that is usually so full of ideas it makes up for the trial-by-doorman.
The presentation was impeccable as usual with gold curtains opening to reveal a tableau vivant of models on bentwood chairs, Cabaret-style. The models walked the runway in turn before going back to their seats and at the end all were joined by Marc, who took his bow and then, with a choreographed scamper, took his place beside them and struck a pose until the curtains closed again. It felt a little 42nd Street.
- Paula Reed, in New York