By  on September 12, 2007

As always, Marc Jacobs divided opinion — not his fashion, but the two-hour wait for the show to start. There were those who accepted it with stoicism and those who thought the designer was obnoxious.

As retailers saw it, Jacobs' track record for delays rivals the airlines. A few retail sources noted his shows are typically an hour late, while most other designer shows run roughly a half hour late.

"In the end, it's disrespectful," said one top merchant. "Keeping thousands of people waiting that long is not right." Jim Gold, president and chief executive officer of Bergdorf Goodman, said he left after waiting about 90 minutes. "We had merchants and members of our fashion office who stayed, but I think it's a lot to ask of people. This is a very busy week. There is a lot of pressure. They have a full schedule of shows and market appointments, and they're very tired. As long as I've been in the business, I have never seen a delay as long. It's frustrating because I really wanted to see the show."

Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director at Neiman Marcus, was e-mailed last night by people in the industry who knew that Jacobs' start time would be very late, so Downing showed up late himself, about 10:30. "There were quite a few e-mails going around the fashion community," Downing said.

After waiting for a long time, some retail bigwigs left before the show began. "I don't know what to say. It is what it is," said Ron Frasch, president and chief merchandising officer of Saks Fifth Avenue. "At about 10 or 10:15, I decided to take my hour commute home, but we had people who stayed," including merchants Joe Boitano and Linda DeFrancis; Denise Incandela from Saks Direct, and women's fashion director Michael Fink. Jacobs' two-hour delay, "could have broken the record," Frasch said. "It's a top 10-er for sure, but there's some stiff competition out of Paris. Galliano has been up there."

"It was a two-hour delay, but to me it was worth it," said Stephanie Solomon, Bloomingdale's vice president of fashion direction. "It was an extraordinary show. He is an extraordinary designer. There must have been a good reason for the delay. He took a very gracious bow at the end," Solomon said. She also said senior executive vice president and general merchandise manager Frank Doroff and others from the team hung in, although some from the Bloomingdale's camp had left.Anna Wintour waited it out, having been alerted to the delay beforehand. "I had dinner, I packed for my trip to London, Lisa Love came for a drink — and it was still only 10 o'clock. I was happy that they called us [to tell us it would be late]."

Others weren't so accepting. Lynn Yaeger said, "Only when I got to the front door at 9 [did I find out it was late]. I am livid. I don't know what to do. On the one hand, I feel like it's the most special night in fashion, on the other hand, I want to go home. It remains to be seen if he'll get away with it. I can't imagine what excuse you would have."

Stylist Kate Young said, "It sucks. It really sucks. I considered not coming. But I love the people-watching here."

As for the International Herald Tribune's Suzy Menkes, she minced no words. "I would like to murder him with my bare hands and never see another Marc Jacobs show as long as I live. Where's the dinner?"

That was over at the unoffi- cial dinner at Dos Caminos that editors traditionally gather for prior to the Marc Jacobs show. This time around, the dinner lasted a bit longer than usual — three margaritas long.

Most of the patrons at Dos Caminos spent the delay yucking it up. By the third round it was a festive table-hopping fete, but it began much like a group of evacuees clustered around a church basement waiting for the storm to pass.

Joe Zee's plan? "Have more margaritas," said the Elle creative director.

"It's just good that the Giants played last night," joked Allure fashion director Michael Carl.

"They should have just had the models walk through here," said one senior editor, only partly kidding.

In an effort to multitask, some editors were inquiring where to get a late-night manicure nearby.

"Midnight. I draw the line there," said Teen Vogue's Amy Astley. "My kids wake up at six."

Harper's Bazaar's editor in chief Glenda Bailey surveyed runway looks prepared for her by her team. "We're having a jolly dinner," she mused.Glamour editor in chief Cindy Leive also was there with her comrades. "Like everyone else, I'm on five nights in a row," she said at 9:55. "I'm not going to hang around much longer."

Gucci Westman was planning on calling it quits after dinner to return home to her five-month-old baby.

Designer Tracy Reese stopped by with her parents for dessert after having dinner at Philippe. She empathized with Jacobs' plight.

"Nobody wants to show late," said Reese. "It's so intense, you have your head between your knees. You want to do it. You want to finish."

"I'm really disturbed by the whole thing," said Sheryl Crow, cracking a smile that made it clear she was being completely facetious. "For me, the later the better. I'm on rock 'n' roll time, so if he wanted to start at midnight, I'd be completely happy."

"I went and had dinner with friends. It was cool," said an equally unbothered Victoria Beckham.

As for Cathy Horyn, she said simply, "I think he's worth the wait."

Simon Doonan was also willing to hang around. "If I go home, I'll just feel geriatric. I'm not really feeling patient, per se, but the reality is if you want to go home and take your teeth out, you can. Anyone here is here because they're curious. At this point, there's a hilarious novelty value to his lateness. But it's not fun for the people at Barneys with kids. I just have a dog."

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