It is ironic that Marc Jacobs’s show, the last show of New York Fashion Week, is the one that starts on time. For a week, 10am has meant 10:30 am, 1pm, 1:30 pm. Everyone is late, all the time.
You are late at your peril at Marc Jacobs. As one late arrival next to me said to a pal, arriving breathless and with a minute to showtime to go, “Made it this time, didn’t make it the last time.”
The most touching sight of the day was watching late fashionistas in heels skittering across the wooden floor of the Park Avenue Armory in a desperate bid to reach their chairs—any chair.
There was even a tweeted sighting of Vogue’s Anna Wintour RUNNING to make the show on time.
Actually, Jacobs was kind of generous this time. The show, attended by a panoply of paparazzi-friendly celebrities like Nicki Minaj, Emily Ratajkowski, Courtney Love, and Zosia Mamet, was scheduled to start at 6pm, and started at 6:03 pm. That’s almost louche in the world of Jacobs time-keeping.
The setting was the Park Avenue Armory, by which I mean the whole bloody building. All of it, which stands between 66th and 67th Streets and Park and Lexington Avenue.
He’s used the building before of course, and seated critics in rows in the middle. This time all the seats were positioned around the perimeter, and into the huge gaping space came the models, including Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Kaia Gerber (the face of Jacobs’ Daisy fragrance and Cindy Crawford’s daughter, who has been this year’s model darling).
Kendall’s sweater was see-through and showed her breasts, which has already got the tabloids very excited.
A year ago, Jacobs had courted controversy by giving his models dreadlocks, for which he issued an apology afterwards. This year, in August, it was rumored that this show wouldn’t be happening, and that Jacobs may be exiting his own label. He later told WWD that “there is no truth” to the rumors. The rumors were “upsetting and stressful” to his staff, and that he said he was working “every day, night and weekend” on the show.
That show, Jacobs said in a folder of notes left on our chairs, was inspired by he and his team taking “a holiday in our heads and went somewhere—twisting fantasy into reality through exaggerated, decadent and exotic sportswear silhouettes. This collection is the reimagining of seasons past somewhere beyond the urban landscape of New York City.”
What we would see would be “a mélange of nylons mixed with silk and synthetic satins, jerseys and twills.”
The same went for the bags, shoes, and huge turbans the models sported, draped and twisted by Stephen Jones. This best-ever game of dress-up unfolded in funereal silence. No one spoke, whooped, those making any noise were shushed.
This year, there will be no hair controversy, because this year there would be no hair—everyone’s hair was encased in turbans. Conceivably, there could be a turban controversy (and there are already grumblings on social media), but as women—both glamorous and not-so glamorous—have been wearing turbans and turban-like creations on their heads for many years, any discussion about ‘cultural appropriation’ should be widely contextualized and not focused on Jacobs.
When the models started appearing they had to do quite the circuit in 56 different looks. These were vivid explosions of color and also shape, which toyed mischievously with our perceptions. The colorful turbans could make the wearer look like a princess or fifties char-lady; a vamp or 50s gal about town.
The sportswear had its own grandiloquence, with camo given a neon makeover, and an acid yellow lightweight jacket worn foxily from the shoulders; and high-waisted track pants with see-through lightweight mackintosh.
There were wide culottes (with huge belted jackets, as worn by Gigi Hadid), and boxy, sixties-style jackets and capes, with belts swinging long and free from dresses decorated with flowers, finished off with socks and sandals. If a duffel or sports bag looked simple, it came with its own glittery, furry or marabou train. There were psychedelic patterns, and long evening dresses in bright yellow and pink.
Shoes spanned flip-flops, and a sports shoe to an evening baboosh (say it three times, it will make you smile and your day so much better), and this footwear was like its own drag-adorned mystery gift piled high with colorful fringe, shimmering tinsel, jewels, gems, pompoms and tassels.
There were fanny-packs, but similarly tricked out and brightly colored. Jackets and cardigans came in bright pink and orange with oversized sleeves, and the trouser suits were deliciously flared and spacious. My favorite coat was white and covered with black circles. Gerber, in a gorgeous long yellow dress, bought the show to a close.
The question of what next for Marc Jacobs may well persist, but if this is his final NYFW show (which seems unlikely) he went out on a colorful, inventive bang. His critics may see him as too willfully outlandish, but his fans are just as passionate devotees.
For the many reasons that he is one of a kind, the most impressive is that he gets the fashion crowd to sit down on time. Whatever their bright colors and innovative pleating, no other designer has managed to emulate that trend.