“Happy days are here again. The skies above are clear again. So let’s sing a song of cheer again. Happy days are here again.”
The aura of Marc Jacobs’s Fall/Winter 2014 show was a bit haunting, as Jessica Lange ominously recited the aforementioned lyrics from the 1929 single—which is best associated with the end of the Great Depression and the repeal of prohibition—on repeat. It sounded like a cult-line mantra—“the kind of thing you might hear at a spa,” Jacobs said. And the audience was sucked in.
The Milton Ager and Jack Yellow song signified the end of a dark era in American history...and the start of something new. For Jacobs, the message was personal. And this collection, his first since departing his position as artistic director of Louis Vuitton, was a blank canvas for the next Marc Jacobs generation.
Models entered the lengthy runway emotionless and robotic, sporting a series of pieces in soft pastels—pinks and peaches, and neutrals—brown, grey, and white—which were most prominently used in the collection. The dresses were mostly lanky, a-line frocks with deep necklines; bomber jackets adorned with fur were paired with tailored trousers and completely sheer tops; and Jacobs’s famous pajama dressing took form in a brown onesie that resembled a pair of long-johns.
Lange’s words may have been haunting, but underneath the soft clouds above, they were, in a strange way, soothing. The clothes, in their light colors, plush fabrics, and soft cuts, evoked that same level of comfort.
With bleached eyebrows and a light-pink tinted blunt bob—close to that of Jane Jetson—models sported a futuristic look. Even 18-year-old reality star Kendall Jenner—who made her runway debut as a Marc Jacobs exclusive—was practically unrecognizable as she paraded down the catwalk.
"I just recently turned 18, so this [Marc Jacobs show] is my big kick-off to start and grow my career,” Jenner told Into the Gloss. “The New York fashion scene is crazy, madness, but I love the energy. I love everything about it—like the hair and makeup today, it’s incredible. I’ve never had my eyebrows bleached; I don’t even look like myself!
And that was the point. Jacobs wanted his audience to let go of their inhibitions. The designer said he was inspired by women like Lange, “who have a sort of strength without any aggressivity — and without it being a discussion about youth.” Clothes don’t need to be aggressive. Clothes don’t need to be a commentary on age or race or gender. They can bring serenity. And in Jacobs’s spa—albeit a strange and futuristic one—the audience found peace.