Marc Jacobs RTW Spring 2013

One of the essential marks of Jacobs’ work is his ability to make a giant seasonal move while retaining every bit of his identity.

Hats off! And while you’re at it, ditch the amazing pilings, the mashes of textures and the wistful spirit that made Marc Jacobs’ fall show such a magical fashion moment. Spring, Jacobs said in a preview, would be about restraint. And “very, very brutal. Brutal in its simplicity. That’s our new word for the season.”

If the word was harsher than the reality of the fashion, it accurately described the intensity of the shift. One of the essential marks of Jacobs’ work is his ability to make those giant seasonal moves while retaining every bit of his identity, a trait he shares with Miuccia Prada and not many others. Only a die-hard maximalist would consider his explosion of graphics — rubberized leather leopard prints, micro sequined checkerboards and stripes, stripes, stripes — examples of restraint, but by Jacobs’ standards, they were. They were also highly wearable; no deconstruction necessary to see the real clothes beneath the romance.

The restraint started with the set: a huge triangular floor covered in pale leather tiles, the back wall a row of 15 revolving doors. From these, the girls emerged, harbingers of a very distilled, crystal-clear fashion statement: a superelongated silhouette anchored by a low-slung skirt and jacket or coat cut lean through the shoulders worn with the collection’s lone accessory, a perfectly matched handbag. If Jacobs startled a bit with his economy of message, the clothes looked beautiful and sexy.

He varied the lineup somewhat with short, midriff-baring jackets and T-shirts over briefs. His concession to girlier fare: curvy dresses, their wide stripes cut into flamboyant bicolored scalloped hems, and a terrific group that repeated many of the earlier shapes — polo shirt, dress, suit, fabulous beige coat — in solids with ruffled two-tone collars. Jacobs also offered an alternative to the linear stripes in variations that made provocative curves around the body. Like the set, these could have been inspired by the work of choreographer Michael Clark. For evening, floor-length sequined T-shirts in contrasting black-and-white patterns inset with chiffon strips made for an engagingly casual way for a girl to sparkle.

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