Dispatches from New York: Marc Jacobs

Grand, theatrical and eccentric...

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After the parade of models done up to resemble Diana Vreeland, the late fashion doyenne who made pronouncements such as, ‘Wash your blonde child’s hair in dead champagne’, Marc Jacobs was issuing his own pronouncements backstage.

‘Allure, yes,’ he said of his show, between kisses with Nicki Minaj and Christina Ricci, ‘The allure of things that you find beautiful and the allure of things that you don’t find beautiful.’

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The backdrop at New York’s Park Avenue Armory had been designed by Stefan Beckman to resemble Jeremiah Goodman’s painting of Diana Vreeland’s living room. ‘She was so decisive and so passionate about something, and then as passionate to dismiss the very same thing the next day,’ explained Jacobs, who’d been reading Vreeland’s book, Memos: The Vogue Years. ‘I think that’s what fashion is: that fierce, addictive pleasure, that I’ve-got-to-have-it-now need.’

The show opened with British model Erin O’Connor, stalking out in a black body-con sheath with bands of gleaming bugle beads from the waist down. The ensuing crescendo of clothes was as forceful as the sound system playing Requiem for a Dream, with every outfit more lavishly hand-worked than the one before it. Long skirts fell in knife-pleats of embroidered, then beaded, then grommeted brocades. Each came with a tantalising jacket, coat or cape option in mink checks, striped mohair or sequined wool.

The style was grand, theatrical and eccentric, just like Vreeland, fashion addict to end all fashion addicts. It also recalled the kind of daring and passion Jacobs harnessed in his collections for Louis Vuitton – the creative directorship he left in October 2013. Since then, being back in New York and focusing on his own brand, his last two collections have conveyed a spirit of dreamlike sadness – until now. If ever there was a collection that could be branded ‘rehabilitation complete’, this was it.

Still, it will be interesting to see if even his most ardent fans will dive into those long, heavily embellished clothes. The important thing is the spirit with which they were delivered that proved his ardent passion for creating style was back.

As Vreeland herself might have said: ‘You gotta have style. It helps you get down the stairs. It helps you get up in the morning. It’s a way of life. Without it, you’re nobody.’

SEE THE FULL MARC JACOBS A/W 2015 COLLECTION

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