It’s not opinion but fact that Marc Jacobs is one of the world’s count-’em-on-one-hand elite designers. Happily, in a season often more ho-hum than perusing the better racks, he was in brilliant form with two dazzling collections, both sprung from a single over-the-top exuberance. But he kept them very different, steeping each in the trappings of its own nativity, Marc Jacobs a wacky treatise on piled-on Americana, and Louis Vuitton, a glorious testament to the high style of the designer’s adopted city. “I love Paris!” Jacobs made his gleeful mantra for the week, and its runway manifestation didn’t come a moment too soon. His fashion-weary (make that lack-of-fashion-weary) audience left the tent in the Cour Carrée du Louvre positively enthralled and in love with fashion all over again.
The collection was all about Jacobs’ view of French chic, which meant Edith Piaf on the soundtrack and, of course, a vibrant tribute to Yves Saint Laurent. (One astute attendee noted that the golden bamboo backdrop looked like oversize Opium packaging.) There was a little Asian influence, and more than a little African, but always as Jacobs perceives their influence on the French psyche. “We didn’t look at a single specific reference,” he said before the show. “It’s just what we think of all this.” He added, “I really believe more is just right.”
Talk about stating the obvious. This was a collection of more, more, more. More feathers; more fabric mixes; more bangle towers; more textures; more handbags; more bells, whistles and beads on shoes, even more categories — hello, little LV undies peaking out from under naughty skirts! And, by the way, more upbeat real clothes, jackets, skirts, sweaters, jersey dresses, polkadotted pajama pants. Lest that fact be missed in a flurry of feathers, Jacobs inserted a two-look palette cleanser, pristine navy jacket over camel pants and camel jacket over navy shorts, to remind the audience that his take on abundance was indeed about more than showmanship. Economic woes? Jacobs espouses the view that fashion can offer diversion, a reason to feel good. And these days, who can’t use a little more of that?