Marc Jacobs has mastered the fashion flip-flop like no one else. But abandoning Brigitte Bardot for Susan Sontag sounds wacky even by his standards. For Louis Vuitton’s spring collection, Jacobs left fall’s voluptuous retro beauty behind, lured not by the writer’s sartorial style, but by her musings on camp, a snippet of which he tacked to his studio wall as he worked on the collection and then distributed to guests at his show. “The relationship between boredom and camp cannot be overestimated…” Sontag wrote, adding that camp taste is only possible “in societies or circles capable of experiencing the psychopathology of affluence.” Hmm, doesn’t sound like a compliment, to Vuitton or its customers. But Jacobs is nothing if not fearless, and who can deny that for those who love it, fashion is the ultimate antidote to boredom?
No ennui possible here as Jacobs went for flash, razzle and dazzle. He started with elements he called clichés of camp. Thus, the explosion of Chinoiserie, animalia, beading, fringe, prints, LV monogrammed lace, cheesy Art Deco and Art Nouveau riffs and color, color, color. His favorite dress is a bright, shiny-surfaced cheongsam, sometimes tasseled to the hilt, but a Thirties-ish riff on a Leonard print will do, too. And why go for mere zebra stripes when you can pair them with a giant zebra likeness on the back of a cape? Similarly, a white pantsuit provided a canvas for giraffe portraiture. And because he couldn’t get enough of the animal motif, Jacobs sculpted the heels of his shoes — at LV, flats were so last season — after the legs of the afore-mentioned beasts. As for the bags — bright, highly decorated and fabulous.
Jacobs presented it all in an eight-minute whirlwind that served as a fashion Red Bull for his exhausted audience. It may not have been his most stellar or controversial outing for Vuitton, but it was playful, exuberant and glam, bam, thank-you ma’am. And a whole lot of fun.