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The Marc Show

Good things come to those who wait.

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Good things come to those who wait.

And wait and wait and wait, in the case of Marc Jacobs’ fall show. Editors, retailers and Hollywood starlets — A to C list alike — grumbled, sweated and seethed through a 90-minute delay at the designer’s presentation Feb. 7. He’d been late before, but this was a whole new level of tardiness. Jacobs then galvanized the crowd by sending out a collection that many considered to be his boldest stroke since the grunge presentation shook up New York’s fashion foundation in 1993.

Some heralded Jacobs’ study in volume and broody aesthetic as a major directional change for him, and also one sure to send influential ripples throughout the industry. But already irate about the delay, some didn’t necessarily buy into that. Undeniably, though, however people reacted to the show — with glee or outrage — they felt passionately so. While Bergdorf Goodman’s Robert Burke thought it was a “brilliant” collection, another retailer sniped, “It looked like clothes for ‘The Addams Family.'”

Realizing that some sort of response to the subsequent media maelstrom was due, Jacobs posted an apology of sorts on marcjacobs.com within 48 hours. “The Marc Jacobs spring-summer 2006 collection show will be held Sept. 12 at 9 p.m. Please be advised the show is running approximately 1 1/2 hours late.” The company’s president, Robert Duffy, further elaborated that they meant no disrespect. “We felt bad and are sorry,” he told WWD. “I thought, let’s lighten up a little bit.”

But still, Jacobs’ show sparked a fashion powder keg. Was the show system out of control with celebs edging out industry people for front-row tickets, tardy starts and a congested lineup? Or do editors, buyers and retailers need to just shut up and do their job regardless of the inconvenience? In an interview with WWDThe Magazine, Jacobs stood his ground. “I moan and I complain about the things I don’t like to do, too. But I do them,” he said. “I can’t manipulate the entire calendar just to weasel my way out of things that are responsibilities and obligations.”

Nobody was complaining in mid-March, though, when Jacobs threw a major bash to inaugurate a collection boutique and Marc by Marc Jacobs door in Los Angeles, 3,500 square feet and 2,500 square feet, respectively. To herald the occasion, Hollywood’s finest mingled with Jacobs’ New York chums at the fete, festooned with 600,000 fresh roses. A week later, Jacobs jetted down to Florida to christen a Bal Harbour site. But why stop there? By yearend, a Las Vegas door would be opened, and plans solidified for San Francisco and London stores in 2006.

When September’s fall fashion week rolled into town, those same people who groused their way through the spring show held their collective breath, waiting to see if there would be a repeat in both wait time and design impact. Jacobs seemed to gamble against himself, as if saying: “I’ll see my amazing fashion show, and raise myself one with the Penn State marching band.”

To boot, he pushed the show from 9 p.m. to 8 p.m., a time slot that he stuck to — more or less. (Starting at 8.30 p.m., his was one of the most on-time shows of the week.) It was a thoroughly de-prissed, structured take on American chic, furthering spring’s volume and somber motif and throwing in a little of his favorite muse: the school girl gone bad. She and Jacobs make a great pair — they’ll always do things their way.

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