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Marc Jacobs: Fashion is global. An overused cliché, perhaps, but not entirely true, as we still take very different expectations to the various fashion centers. And Paris still reigns as the capital of fashion thrills. Which is why that semiannual trek to the Lexington Avenue Armory is so packed with anticipation. We go expecting more than a pretty dress, and almost always, Marc Jacobs delivers, often rejuicing favorite motifs with a new punch. Even so, well into his mature designer phase, the flowering of the past few years has been something to see, growth that found breathtaking expression in the collection he showed on Monday night. It exemplified very clearly the influence of 10 years in Paris on Jacobs’ American roots, his natural audacity and wit refined and bolstered by the French sophistication and obsession with creativity.
The collection gave a lyrical aura to some pretty outlandish themes, “lighthearted and a bit corny,” according to Jacobs. “Too conventional feels old-fashioned.” He showed against a stunning Stefan Beckman set, sweeping wallpaper hills behind a bright green runway raised over a rippling stream made of candy. Jacobs kept the palette and the mood light as air — the music was a variation on Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” — despite the abundance of stuff worn in various displays of eccentricity, the overall girliness twisted by a faux-butch counterpoint. There were mesmerizing metallics, cellophanes, laces, ruffles, avian appliqués, jersey collages, glitter and khakis, not to mention ample evidence that Jacobs has developed a headgear fetish. “The more loaded up, the better,” he said. “People like fashion at the moment.” It’s hard to imagine fashion girls not liking the gorgeous coats and jackets, winsome dresses, delicate blouses and eccentric Ts. And, of course, the gleefully ostentatious handbags, in pairings of exotic skins with big, flashy jewels. As for the pants, they were a middle-school English teacher’s dream, a lesson in comparatives — tricky, trickier and trickiest, à la early As Four. Still, Jacobs insists they’re not a joke.
But no matter. The real message here was about knocking grand fashion off its pedestal so that it speaks to the (rich) girl on the street.