Marc Jacobs wields an impressive power over his home city of New York. Not a single show during New York fashion Week begins on time or even in the vicinity of it, but when it comes to Marc Jacobs, he isn’t playing – the time stated on the invite is when the show actually starts, down to the minute. And it’s not surprising in the least that people turn up at least twenty minutes early (when we're usually there at least twenty minutes late) to a Jacobs show, or run like mad to make it in time, when what the master designer delivers is unlike anything else NYC has to offer.
From the inspiring runways that are more akin to film sets than catwalks, to the feats of fashion fantasy that are perennially sent out each season, a Marc Jacobs show is really a unique experience in this city, where for the most part the shows are held in the rather clinical surrounds of Lincoln Center. His chameleonic aesthetic tendencies also means that even avid fans (like myself) cannot attempt to predict what he might come out with next – just over the last eighteen months, we have seen Jacobs' traverse decadent disco glamour for spring, severe fetish-inspired tailoring and three-dimensional polka dots for winter - and now, a collection seemingly inspired by 1920’s flappers via 1950s cowgirl housewives, conceived with a futuristic twist. Quite an eccentric vision – and it was love from the first look out.
The show began with a heavily fringed velvet curtain opening to reveal a stage with dozens of models standing, sitting and lounging in various poses illuminated by theatrical spotlights. One by one, the girls stepped down the runway, their up-dos accentuated by 50-style ‘do-rags’, and wearing inventive fare including cellophane organza skirts and silicone dresses, ‘film’ fringed skirts, sequinned cashmere cardigans and sweaters, checked Western-style shirts, pointed stiletto's (with, I'm sorry, weird skinny-in-the-middle circa '92 heels, let's please not bring those back!) and rubber cowboy boots. The contrast of retro silhouettes with ultra-modern technical fabrications was particularly interesting – key looks being the polished and plasticcy fringed numbers that fused a Noir with Sci-Fi vibe to brilliant effect.
As the show reached a close, the models resumed their original stance on stage – frozen in the limelight, the crowd cheering as Marc Jacobs took a bow for his super-modern and completely unexpected collection for spring. Sure, it may not be particularly pragmatic (the transparent numbers may prove challenging) – but hey, that’s what youth-driven Marc by Marc Jacobs is for.