By  on November 11, 2013

The extreme heat harkened back to shows of yore—or would have, had audience members been forced to squirm in their own sweat for more than seven minutes. But on the stroke of eight (or was it a few seconds before?), Natalie Westling presented herself. She led Marc Jacobs’ rapid-fire procession of girls across a beach-in-shambles set, giant abandoned lifeguard chair, bus and food cart suggesting prior calamity. The early girls in the lineup wore their jams with antithetical sobriety, paired with frilled dark blouses and the occasional sweatshirt; on the later girls, the blouses became dresses beribboned, jeweled and embroidered lavishly, their embellishments only enhancing their exquisite Victorian moodiness. An intense passage of dark magic, and in aflash it was over.

Nineteen days later, guests to the Louis Vuitton show left behind the light of a lovely Paris morning for a second dark reverie, one that employed a showgirl ruse to celebrate the decorative, superficial, hyper-beautiful side of Paris that Jacobs had come to love in his 16 years as creative director. The breathtaking show would be his last for the house. Just as he took his bow to a thunderous standing ovation, WWD reported the end of the tenure during which Jacobs transformed the one-time carriage-trade luggage maker into a major fashion force.

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