Blink, and you missed it. That was the breakneck speed of Marc Jacobs‘ Runway collection shown in New York on the heels of Pride weekend in the marble atrium of the New York Public Library. As promised, the show started promptly at 7:30 PM. By 7:33 PM, Jacobs took the runway for a brief bow. It seemed to deliver an IRL presentation tailored to the attention spans of today’s digital audience, and the OpenAI, ChatGPT scripted show notes—however repetitive the computer’s writing was—presumably confirmed that.
Seeing the collection prior to reading the computer-generated text, the takeaway was classic Marc Jacobs; girly, sexy, and punkish at once; the knack the designer has for altering a traditional style but giving a gloss-up and badass attitude. To wit, the models who collectively presented as cisgender women sported singular blonde edgy shag hairdos and lots of miniskirts and tight looks as they marched full speed ahead down the runway once en masse and then up again before calling it a day.
There were a few bold, tailored looks to support the computer’s title of the collection; ‘Marc Jacobs: A striking fusion of masculine tailoring and feminine elegance.’ This was evidenced in five key suit looks in stark black and white tones with details like a nipped waist, cropped waist, oversized shoulders, and refined draping giving them a female take.
The majority of the collection, though, was grounded in the ‘altered gown’ styles which featured thigh-skimming hemlines, prominent shoulders, a revamped rounded bralette, and modern draping, altering the party dresses into sassy frocks both Courtney Love and Molly Ringwald a la Pretty in Pink could get behind. No doubt today’s It Girls, musically inclined or not, will clamor for these.
They were worn with black footless tights, white ankle socks, and flats, which ultimately couldn’t help but channel an Edie Sedgwick and give a nod to the underground New York music scene of the sixties, seventies, and even eighties that today’s youth continue to channel. A bloomer panty appeared in a few of the looks adding to the provocative nature of the minidresses.
What there wasn’t any of was fur, real or faux. That didn’t stop Peta from causing a random disruption before and after the tightly edited show of just 100-plus guests, virtually devoid of the scrum of street-style photographers and fans. Jacobs has never been known for fur garments per se, and recent collections only feature faux-fur jackets, etc. Chants accusing the designer of having blood on his hand were misdirected and perhaps a stab at the industry as a whole. In any case, their ire was even more annoying as they screeched at guests through bull horns.
Jacob’s off-calendar show of the collection, which is carried exclusively at Bergdorf Goodmen, was a treat to anyone in attendance. It fell on the same night as a Tears for Fears concert nearby at Madison Square Garden. The punctual and hasty runway show was a convenience for anyone double-booked for the evening; however, it shocked some guests— which included Anna Sui, Nicky Hilton, Inez Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin—witnessing the accelerated spectacle.
The beloved designer and the band members Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal are creative contemporaries; Jacobs founded his namesake label in 1984, and Tears for Fears was formed in 1981. Each artist has a body of work they are known for that is constantly added to with fresh material. The duo delivered that in their first gig at MSG, playing two hours of hits they are known for, while introducing newer tracks. Similarly, Jacobs did the same thing with his show, classic Marc, with a contemporary twist. It would have been nicer to have been able to soak up the moment for longer. As Jacobs did a perfunctory bow at the end of the show, a parallel to the genius kid in science class that awkwardly rushes through his class presentation, albeit being the best one, was easy to draw.
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