Something New, Something Borrowed at Marc Jacobs

September 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Looks from Marc Jacobs

As I perused images from the Marc Jacobs collection that closed New York Fashion Week last thursday, it wasn’t Jacobs’ hand I kept seeing in the clothes; rather, it was Miucca Prada’s. Prada’s influence was so heavy at times – particularly in the flapperesque dresses covered in magnified plastic paillettes – that it would be down right rude for Jacobs not to send her a big IOU after the show. There’s no doubt Jacobs put his own spin on the Prada F/W ’11 look, imbuing them with a kooky 20s flair, but in light of Jacob’s recent and heavy borrowing of the Common Project’s aesthetic for a line of shoes, I’m starting to wonder if the fashion world gives him too much credit for putting out original designs.

I loved some of the casual items, particularly a simple sweater in mint green. Its sharpness recalled the smooth, spongy texture of neoprene (it was actually nylon and cashmere) and its color brought the collection in line with the bright pastels of the rest of Fashion Week. If you looked closely, there were also some nice details on some of the tailored items, like panels of structured fringe that lined pockets and hems. They looked especially lovely when layered at the bottom of skirts – it was like a mini rodeo at the knees.

The show’s styling elements were hot and cold for me. I’m crazy for the stocking/high heel combo as an update for the chunky sock/wedge, but the two-toned drivers had a bulbous quality that made me think they were selected from a high-end line for Shape-Ups. And while the head wraps gave collection a cohesion and sense of theater, the rectangular handbags recalled designer toiletry cases.

Whether or not you like Jacobs’ collections, I find that they consistently invite the most passionate reviews. Just hours after the the latest Jacobs collection ended, Amy Larocca of New York Magazine exclaimed, “There can be no doubt that he is one of the most exciting designers in the history of clothes.” Cathy Horyn of The New York Times was less enthusiastic: “It wasn’t all that interesting or humorous.”

Tyra’s lesson from the season premier of ANTM was this: hate is a better reaction than indifference. Whether you love him or love to hate him, there’s no denying that Marc Jacobs’ power to define and guide American fashion is unrivaled. He constantly creates clothes that provoke, inspire, and cause a stir, and it’s because of this power, one that all fashion designers aspire to acquire, that Jacobs has positioned himself as one of the greatest designers of our time.


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