For Autumn/Winter 2011, the look was strict and disciplined – but in a fantastically cartoon-like way.
Against the blaring 'The beautiful people, the beautiful people,' Marilyn Mason anthem, statuesque models took to the mirrored catwalk anchored with huge white, polyester padded columns. It was quite a departure from last season’s dreamy-disco fare that I was so moved by: a collection of pure 70s fantasy – super-real glamour at its best. Where last season, Jacobs was all about saturated colour and lithe, free form, for Autumn/Winter 2011, the look was strict and disciplined – but in a fantastically cartoon-like way. Models wearing sculptural bubble-like beret’s and space-age-meets-turn-of-the-century platform boots, donned impossibly structured, form-fitting dresses and ensembles resulting in an amped-up feminine, hour-glass silhouette – the effect was almost cyborg-like perfection, a kind of Victorian-era Replicant fest. And, true to the repetitive soundtrack that played the length of the show, the girls were indeed beautiful. That hyper-real quality was at play again following on from last season, but where spring/summer’s blaze of brilliant colour and metallics, dramatically oversized sun-hats, platform heels and full, sweeping skirts made for a fantasy we could be a part of, winter’s vision was instead rather intimidating and exclusive. Where Manson’s chant was originally an ode to freaks, within the confines of this show the irony was lost - and I couldn’t help but be left wondering who, aside from the ‘beautiful people’ on parade, could possibly wear these couture-like, precise garments. That said, fashion is fantasy – and we don’t need to imagine ourselves wearing the clothes on offer to admire them, and when it comes to Jacobs, I am an enduringly avid fan.
The excessive plasticcy-synthetic accessories and embellishment added humour to the austere forms – particularly in the glittering three-dimensional polka-dots adorning entire outfits. It was also good to see faux-fur capitalised on, when there has (somewhat disturbingly) been so much of the real thing throughout the New York Collections this season, fabrics appeared rubbery and skin tight – as trousers, column skirts, sculpted skirt suits and jackets. The streamlined guipure dresses towards the end of the show offered a fresh take on the lace we’ve been seeing quite a lot of for winter, and overall, the rich, textural fabrics realised as super-sculpted separates and dresses was a bold move. The only criticism last season (that I heard anyway) was that Jacobs’ collection was too overtly referential of a particular era – well, Jacobs may have taken this to heart, because his future-archaic feat for A/W 2011 is certainly original, and has made the seventies influence he started (rife through the New York shows this season) seem like old news.