With a career dating back to the late Eighties, Marc Jacobs is a fixture of American fashion. While he’s had memorable stints designing for Perry Ellis and Louis Vuitton — most notably the grunge-inspired collection that got him fired from Perry Ellis in 1993 and introducing ready-to-wear at Louis Vuitton during his 16-year tenure — Jacobs’ namesake label has been one of fashion’s most innovative since its inception in 1984.
From his acute punctuality (and sometimes lack thereof) to model debuts and fantastical set designs, here’s a look back at some of Jacobs’ memorable runway moments from his namesake brand:
1. The Marching Band: Spring Ready-to-Wear 2006
A fan of playing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” during many of his previous runway shows, this time Jacobs upped the ante by enlisting the Penn State Blue Band to start the show with their own rendition of the Nineties’ grunge classic. In theme with the collegiate marching band, Jacobs showed a collection that took a cue from school uniforms and classic American pieces.
2. The Great Delay: Spring Ready-to-Wear 2008
In these years notorious for his lack of punctuality, Jacobs pushed it to the limit by showing his spring 2008 show two hours after the original start time. While most remember this collection as the end of such delays and the start of Jacobs’ steadfast commitment to starting his shows on time, which lasted until September 2018 (more on that later), the designer kept his audience on their toes by taking his bow before sending out all of his models at once and showing the looks in opposite order.
3. The Paper Castle: Fall Ready-to-Wear 2012
With the help of artist Rachel Feinstein, Jacobs’ set was transformed into one that resembled a castle made out of construction paper in shades of blue and gray. As they walked along the curvy runway, which was equipped with a fake fountain also made out of construction paper, models showed off a collection full of oversize mink hats, jeweled pilgrim shoes and colorful prints.
4. The Orb: Fall Ready-to-Wear 2013
A giant orb suspending from the Lexington Avenue Armory’s ceiling made Jacobs’ collection look as if a sepia filter had been applied to the clothing. Models walked the runway showing off the various silk pajamas, fur coats, wool sweaters and sequined numbers, all of which looked to be of a yellowish hue. For the finale walk, Jacobs turned on the house lights to show the collection’s wide range of colors, including burgundy, navy blue, silver and white.
5. Kendall Jenner’s Debut: Fall Ready-to-Wear 2014
While the Stefan Beckman-designed set — where pillowy clouds hung from the ceiling — drew the audience’s attention, the most memorable part of this show was when reality TV star turned fashion model Kendall Jenner made her debut on the runway wearing a sheer brown top with wool trousers. Jenner has since been a fixture of New York Fashion Week.
6. The One With Beats by Dre Headphones: Spring Ready-to-Wear 2015
Jacobs’ spring 2015 show gained attention for a number of reasons. Attendees were instructed to put on the headphones provided to them through Jacobs’ partnership with Beats by Dre in order to hear the audio for the show, which was a rendition of the 1976 short film “The Girl Chewing Gum.” In theme with the audio, the set featured a bubble-gum pink playhouse and matching carpet. In an unprecedented move, Jacobs sent all of his models down the runway completely bare-faced, with the beauty look solely consisting of a short, shaggy-haired black wig.
7. A Night at the Ziegfeld: Spring Ready-to-Wear 2016
Taking a break from showing at his usual venue, Jacobs brought his spring show to the Ziegfeld, paying homage to the famous theater he visited frequently growing up in the city. As the theater’s marquee projected, “One Night Only,” Jacobs took inspiration from the theater and did indeed put on a show. Guests were greeted with all the movie theater staples — popcorn, soda, candy and playbills — before taking their seats facing the stage, where a live orchestra played the soundtrack to a collection full of red, white and blue separates.
8. Lady Gaga Goes Victoriana: Fall Ready-to-Wear 2016
For a collection full of gothic-meets-Victorian era clothing, Jacobs tapped longtime friend and collaborator Lady Gaga as one of his models. The singer-slash-actress made her runway debut wearing an oversize coat with fur accents and dangerously high platform boots.
9. Street Style, Literally: Fall Ready-to-Wear 2017
Season after season of putting on fantastical runways, Jacobs stripped back his set to the bare minimum: a completely empty Park Avenue Armory solely equipped with two rows of metal folding chairs. Guests were asked not to use their phones during the show as models marched out unannounced and to no music. Models continued walking outside the venue, where they stationed themselves in front of large speakers and turned the tables on the audience as they themselves whipped out their phones and started snapping pictures of the guests as they left the venue.
10. Late, Again: Spring Ready-to-Wear 2019
Facing harsh criticism following his spring 2008 collection, when he made attendees wait two hours before starting the show, Jacobs had consistently started his runways on time until his past spring show. The unprecedented 90-minute delay may have agitated attendees — although it gave Nicki Minaj ample time to show off her three-dimensional red dress — but guests praised Jacobs for a fanciful collection of bright pastel-colored dresses with bold shoulders, exaggerated ruffles and mixed prints. In an interview with WWD following the show, Jacobs addressed the delay and the challenges of putting on an elaborate live show.
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