Once upon a time there was a giant smiley face sweater, and a collection big on dots. That was two-plus decades, numerous business situations, one high-profile firing, countless tabloid titillations and tons of fashion ago. For fall, Marc Jacobs went dotty once again to delightful effect.
After his languid spring collection that had a much-noted YSL Seventies vibe, Jacobs got to thinking about referencing someone else — himself. “I thought about all the things I’ve done in the past, and perennially loved,” he said. “That’s my description of classic.” He then ran through all of his collections, “From the trompe l’oeil to the polka dots to the glam collection that had the rubber, and the sweats that we’ve done, all those crazy American classics.” He pilfered from each, working the ideas into a tightly focused glamorama filled with wit, audacity and great clothes. “I just want to have fun,” he said. Which may be why he constructed a set of giant white quilted patent (or was it vinyl?) pillars that played like a big, bold, shiny homage to mid-century kitsch.
In one of the major mood swings Jacobs loves, he ditched last season’s gentle fluidity and replaced it with an austerity of line that was sliver-thin and delivered with couture-like precision along with the inevitable dose of girlish charm. As for the collection’s other overarching motif, those dots came small, medium and large; matte and shiny; flat and 3-D, and in a dizzying array of fabrics: prints and embroideries; rubber that aped paillettes; paillettes that aped fur, and film discs fused onto rubber. There were fake furs and real furs, the latter sheared beaver with big dots inset into the larger piece.
But there was far more to this show than spotted fever. Often Jacobs started with a white shirt — that particular classic is all the rage among Jacobs’ staffers these days, though perhaps not in the runway polyester, not yet anyway — as an underpinning for a boxy sweatshirt or hyper curvy jacket over slim, sexy skirts. He also showed terrific sweaters, an “altered men’s coat,” sailor pants (another house standard) and gorgeous lace dresses detailed with romantic jabots. As for accessories, spotted socks, Stephen Jones’ mini-berets and a range of slush-busting snow boots completed the message of feisty faux-restraint. And oh, yes, handbags in vibrant car-paint that outshone those plasticized pillars.