GIVE HIM THE BEATS: Marc Jacobs has gone to great lengths to ensure that guests at his runway show tonight will feel right at home — albeit in someone else’s home. A 10,000-square-foot hot pink house was built (replete with a shocking pink carpet) and each attendee found a pair of Beats by Dre headphone tethered to their respective bleacher seats. While the show’s instrumental track could be heard by the naked ear, showgoers needed their headphones to fully immerse themselves in the experience once the models hit the runway. Jacobs said, “We wanted to create an immersive experience for this collection, like an art installation — to add another dimension to a more traditional soundtrack. We worked closely with the team at Beats by Dre to develop an enhanced audio experience. The idea was to mix the instrumental track that sounds familiar yet modern, with a narrative overlay to play with the audience’s perception and make for a more personal experience.”
With the Beats by Dre, attendees heard an instructional narrative provided by a computerized male operating system that at times referenced what was happening on the runway, depending where your seat was. (Jacobs’ casita extended down most of the runway, preventing one side of the room from seeing the other, or the other side of the runway.) Guests also heard atmospheric sounds that you might hear in a Middle America house as well as the sound of girls walking on gravel. Inspired in part by John Smith’s 1976 short film “The Girl Chewing Gum,” Jacobs worked shoulder-to-shoulder with his music director and sound designer Steve Mackey. (The latter also plays in the band Pulp and is married to Katie Grand.) Grand said, “Last season we started experimenting sonically to add a new dimension to Marc’s show — to create a soundscape. We wanted to build on that and take it a step further; this is where Beats by Dre came in. Marc and I recalled an X ray Spex album cover with the band wearing headphones and we loved the visual of the audience in their own world wearing the headphones.”
The Dre-enhanced equipment is meant to lead to one very personalized experience — alone but together. Jacobs has no formal partnership with Beats by Dre nor with its new owner Apple. After orchestrating the concept, Jacobs approached the company about a hook-up, so to speak. “Marc uses the best collaborators with everything he does, and Beats’ quality is the best,” a spokesman for the designer said before the show’s lights went down.
However attached attendees might have been to the whole extravaganza, they had to leave their Beats with their seats.