It was a disaster scene out front of Marc Jacobs New York Armory show, where torrential rain threatened arriving guests scrambling to their seats for the bang-on 8pm presentation (stranding a slew of celebrities and editors arriving a minute or two late including Sophia Coppola and Drew Barrymore, relegated to the standing section). The raging storm outside appeared strangely portentous, setting the scene for the sartorial tempest Jacobs’ presented for Spring/Summer 14. Against a dramatic post-apocalyptic backdrop complete with overturned bus, destroyed beach and wrecked teepee, a stream of eerie lookalike models with blunt bleached-out dirty-dyed bobs walked the black gravel catwalk to the foreboding beat of Aphex Twin’s Icct Hedral (Philip Glass Orchestration). It was a dark, gloomy and equally decadent vision, a nightmarish spectacle that saw grunge given an elaborate Victoriana spin.
Marrying the 1990’s with the 1890s, the collection included heavily embellished floor length puff-sleeve dresses and skirts paired with chunky hiking sandals and flat sequined boots, teamed with oversize tassled, beaded and appliquéd jackets. Offhand yet experimental, the looks in deep jewel tones appeared an homage to ninties alternative style, a celebration of art-school freaks in DIY charity-shop ensembles equally at home in a battered Victorian dress as grandpa pants and sneakers. There was much to ruminate over as the show drew to a close, the least of which was why Jacobs presented what appeared to be winter-wear for summer. Was the designer alluding to the grand narrative that is the Global Warming crisis and our inability to curb mass consumption – or was this nightmarish scene just the imagined morning after an epically riotous, very well-dressed, party? I suspect the latter, but like to think fashion has the capability to engage on the discourse of important global themes - either way, it was an exciting and thought-provoking end to NYFW and a reminder of what a creative power Marc Jacobs continues to be.