When is a fashion show more than a fashion show—when is it a work of art? Marc Jacobs is no stranger to spectacle, but with his NYFW-closing show on Thursday, he elevated the typical show format to a museum-worthy plane. In so doing, he didn’t just delight his audience; he dazzled us. Literally.
Guests arrived at the Lexington Avenue Armoury and entered a show space that was less a set, more a solarscape. A massive ‘sun’ cast an artificial glow over a round, moon-like runway. It was just like Olafur Eliasson’s mock sun from The Weather project, the 2003 Tate Modern installation that had urbanites queuing up to bask in manmade rays through the grayest winter months.
This sun threw a golden-brown light over the catwalk, temporarily obliterating colour perception. When the first model took to the catwalk, we could see shapes and textures, but few fabric details—and no colour at all. Reflective pyjamas, wide-sleeved coats, cheek-baring hot pants, boxy jackets, sequinned dresses and big shaggy furs all took turns.
Every few exits, it looked like a model meandered out from backstage having forgotten to put on the other half of her outfit. Cara Delevingne, almost unrecognisable in her Joan Jett wig, wore a cable-knit sweater and goggly-eyed faux fox stole. Another model made her lunar orbit wearing only a pair of high-waisted hot pants and heels, holding a gloved hand across her chest for a nod to the idea of coverage.
After the entire cast walked, the lighting changed—and they did it again. The natural light by now suffusing the show space revealed unperceived riches of hue. Sequinned shirtdresses flowed over the body in sapphires, rubies and rose quartz tones. The paillette-covered coats and cropped jackets of the finale weren’t just sparkly; they glittered in colour. Bias-cut gowns flowed over the body in precious-metal tones. It was out with the girly and in with the glam.
Jacobs hasn’t enjoyed the easiest of seasons. First Hurricane Sandy devastated his home, to which he apparently has yet to return; then Winter Storm Nemo interrupted work on his collection and forced him to delay his Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs shows. He told WWD that the idea of ‘comfort’ and a reassuring beauty underpinned this collection.
Leaving aside its contemplative basis, one thing about this collection was clear. Sofia Coppola expressed it best as she made her way backstage: ‘I can’t wait to go shopping,’ she said. Something tells us that next season, just about everyone will be ready to let the sun shine in.