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Everyone exited with a smile on his or her face. And why not? Marc Jacobs had just concluded New York Fashion Week with one of the strongest collections of the Fall 2015 season—and we would have loved it even if he hadn’t plied us with shots of Belvedere vodka as we entered the show.
There was a reason, of course, for the double-row of white-gloved waiters bearing silver trays of crystal rocks glasses: We didn’t know it yet, but we were stepping into a Diana Vreeland homage. Canvas walls inside the Park Avenue Armory were splashed with Vreeland’s signature red and sketched out to resemble the Upper East Side apartment where the legendary editor entertained, well, pretty much every A-lister of the middle-third of the 20th century. The red walls, the overly dramatic music (from Clint Mansell’s soundtrack for 2000’s Requiem for a Dream, it was noted), that brief taste of straight-up vodka (Vreeland’s preferred drink) to warm you from New York’s glacial air, and then a bountiful parade of fantastic clothes that were equal parts artful and wearable: Everything combined to produce a moment of perfect theater, that rare chance when you are transported from merely looking at clothes to experiencing a sensory overload that leaves you grinning and wanting more.
“I just walked through backstage, and it was this brilliant fountain of mauve and crimson and classy,” said Anthony Kiedis prior to the show, sitting front row between Debbie Harry and Christina Ricci. “That’s why I love Marc, because he’s warm and hard-working and a beautiful, sweet, lovely dude, but he also possesses this wonderful, radical style, like an artist.”
Indeed, Jacobs consistently excels not only as a designer, but also (especially in the social-media age) as a showman. A few seats away from that trio, for example, sat MJ stalwart Sofia Coppola, as well as Nicki Minaj, wearing a pair of serious over-the-knee python boots. But this isn’t about celebs showing up for the free clothes (though Kiedis noted they’re highly appreciated); surely these Friends of Marc feel a decided kinship with both the man and his collections.
Ricci, wearing a portrait-collar minidress from Jacobs’s Spring 2015 collection, agreed. “His clothes are beautifully made, but they also have a sense of humor,” she said. “He produces really gorgeous clothes, but at the same time they’re not taken too seriously, and I really love that.”
The collection on Thursday evening without question reflected Ricci’s thoughts. A Marc Jacobs show, with its precise start time in recent years and rapid parade of models (‘90s super Erin O’Connor opened the show, while everyone’s of-the-moment super, Kendall Jenner, also featured prominently on this runway) can leave even the most studious viewer with a head spinning with questions about references. The collection ultimately seemed to evoke a seamless mix of neo-Noir looks – slim suits featured powerful, Joan Crawford-esque shoulders – with a deep dive into a silhouette that evoked Dior’s New Look: A-line skirts that fell below the knee, many of them in luxe fabrications, such as a gold-flecked brocade, were paired with jackets and coats cinched with belts at the waist. Jacobs also produced that silhouette in a studded, pleated black leather, in both a calf- and full-length version, both of which should quickly become sought-after pieces.
Ultimately the blend was key, the combination of shine, shape and texture, a knee-length coat adorned with bold brass buttons over a calf-length pleated A-line skirt, or a belted, wide-lapel jacket paired with a full-length, A-line skirt that moved as easily as the model who wore it. If there was a surprise of this collection, it was the healthy number of evening gowns, slim or bias-cut and embellished with sequins. More than a few of them would look totally right on the red carpets that will be center-stage in LA this Saturday or Sunday.
Then again, anyone who loves Marc Jacobs should know he’s not content with anything that feels expected. “That’s why you come to his shows,” Ricci said. “You know he’s going to do something creative and exciting, but more importantly, he’ll follow his heart, and do something that feels like his own.”
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