Dispatches from New York: Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein & Ralph Lauren

Rebecca Lowthorpe reports

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GIF: Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, s/s 2015 - Getty

 

Here’s what the Twitter stream had to say about the Marc Jacobs show:

Black bowl cuts and bare faces.

Smiley face emoticon.

THINK PINK.

Kendall Jenner walked bare-faced !!!!

Rihanna looking damn good for Marc Jacobs.

Marc Jacobs Had The Easiest Runway Make Up Ever. WorldNews Marc Jacobs Shows Models With Zero Makeup.

Kendall mais uma vez nas passarelas de Marc Jacobs.

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I can’t help be reminded of daleks when I look at the Marc Jaobs collection.

The Marc Jacobs show looked so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marc Jacobs does Cargo Couture.

Barbie doll meets Action Man at Marc.

The house that Marc built.

 

I hope that was helpful. The show notes weren’t: KENDALL: DRESS, EDIE: SHIRT, SKIRT. This was a show that required answers. Such as why was the set a massive house in Pepto-Bismol pink? Why issue everyone with a pair of Beats by Dre headphones? Why was the ‘music’ a disembodied voice giving instructions like: ‘Now I want the girl to jump up and down on the beds’…? Womenswear Daily said it was inspired by John Smith’s 1976 film, The Girl Chewing Gum. Watch it on YouTube and you’ll see a hilarious short film featuring a narrator telling people on a London street what he would like them to do – and, weirdly, they do exactly what he says.

 

So Marc Jacobs has a good sense of humour. But what about the clothes? They were a melting pot of uniforms. Oversized and military, couture-like and doll-ish. Oddly brilliant and just plain odd. Sometimes a massive military pocket exploded from the hip of a short skirt. A jumpsuit was embellished with big round stones. Dresses were micro short and floor length. Shapes were united in their simplicity. One clear thing was how good the accessories were: fantastic bags – the backpacks and messenger bags will be a sellout. Oh, and Marc Jacobs reinvented the Scholl sandal. Which says it all really, about twisting the norm – and that’s what Jacobs perfected here.

 

Image: Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, s/s 2015 - IMAXTREE

 

Narciso Rodriguez was also about twisting the norm at Calvin Klein. Over the years, he has developed a spare, conceptual aesthetic that often results in memorable collections. Last season’s is a case in point: those great coats, enveloping knits and stomping boots perfectly chimed with the assertive fashion of the times. Here he took a lean-as-you-like silhouette in mostly navy with the occasional zing of hot red, and delivered tunic length shifts, an empire-line created with fine belts under the bust, and put them with long skirts and defiantly high Lucite heels – no flats here. Perhaps it was the context in which this spring collection was shown: in New York this week, with so much American sportswear twisted and reinvented, all fresh, shiny and new - and fundamentally easy to wear – this looked more difficult by comparison. While it was great to see Costa reprising the racer back tops that harked back to the ease that Calvin Klein espoused, there was little else for the Calvin customer to choose from, so relentless was this idea. The narrow coats and jackets, however, will again be the big hit when they reach the shop floor.

 

Talking again of twisting an old theme. Nobody can pull off sophisticated safari quite like Ralph Lauren. He owns the look and has the perfume line, Safari, to prove it. And despite its many incarnations over the years, Mr Lauren is nothing if not the past master at tweaking his classics to suit the times.

 

The update here were the splashes of colour – from a daffodil trench casually tied at the waist to the tulle gowns at the end in fuchsia, orange and lemon. It was also in the cut (neat and narrow), the fabrics (light, iridescent and airy) and the attitude: a modern sportiness prevailed. Those stretch suede pants, all the jumpsuits, the sage satin bomber jacket and loose cargo pants, all added to the modern mood. As for the glamour quotient, it was ramped up, from the safari suits in metallic organza to the jewel encrusted tops and plenty of multi-stone dazzling necklaces. This wasn’t Ralph playing safe; he was having fun resetting his timeless style. The finale gown said everything you need to know about how to make glamour effortlessly chic – a billowing khaki shirt dress in taffeta silk.

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