Somewhere over the years since its conception in 2001, Marc by Marc Jacobs lost its identity. The line that was first established as the cool, relatively more affordable little sister to Marc Jacobs has had difficulty maintaining a strong runway presence over the years.
In May, Marc Jacobs announced that British fashion designers Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley would take the reigns of the brand, becoming creative director and head designer, respectively. With Jacobs planning to focus more attention on his own, namesake line, it’s no surprise that he brought in an experienced design duo to revamp the brand that got lost in the mix.
It was clear that things would be different this season after just stepping foot into the show’s new space, a pier near the Financial District that resembled a modern skate park, bright and filled with ramps and hills. Models opened the show in monochromatic outfits that featured sharp tailoring—turtlenecks, blazers, and loose high-waisted trousers. The accessories embodied the urban, street persona of the ‘new’ Marc by Marc Jacobs: black belts (or obis) and patent high tops.
“We’re going back to her roots and making her tougher,” Bartley told WWD “She’s this active person with energy, a bit feisty and sulky.”
The pieces that followed truly made a statement, as models unleashed their inner BMX warrior. There were boyfriend jeans with bright patches; bandanas masking half of the models faces; dresses that read “REVOLUTION” and “BUNNY HOP;” and bold-colored graphics designed by Fergus Purcell of London’s Palace Skateboard. Following the chic ninja series, military-inspired pieces took the runway. The show ended with models taking a stand on different sections of the catwalk—it seemed as if they were ready to say, “I volunteer as tribute.”
Marc Jacobs, who sat front row alongside Sofia Coppola, gave Hillier and Bartley a standing ovation. After a successful debut collection that garnered Jacobs’s approval and a possible name change for the brand in the near future, Hillier and Bartley seem to be on track to help the line get its groove back.