In about six minutes – nine, if you count the finals – Astor Hall in the New York Public Library was transformed into a fashion brigade. At 7.30pm, Marc Jacobs staged his fashion show in the fall of 2022. By 7.36pm, all 42 looks had walked the runway before a single row of 100 guests sat on metal folding chairs. At 19:39 – poof – it was gone.
Present were mostly hardcore New York fashionistas – Grace Coddington, Anna Wintour, Mickey Boardman, Derek Blasberg – along with Mr. Jacobs’ husband, Char Defrancesco, Emily Ratajkowski and Charlotte Groeneveld, an influencer who goes after the @thefashionguitar handle.
Christine Quinn, from the Real Estate porn reality show “Selling Sunset”, was dressed in a bandeau and matching leggings printed with the Marc Jacobs logo arranged in a graphic black and white vertical repetition. The same logo treatment was pasted over an M-train that ran up to a metro platform on the Lower East Side the other day. Then – pooh – it was gone.
The scene was minimal. No street style circus. No waiting for some VIPs to take a seat 30 minutes late. Just a few minutes of civilized small talk among Mr. Jacob’s tribe, who will follow their pipes wherever he goes.
With the stoic grandeur from the library walls, a Philip Glass score and a little something else, Mr. Jacobs delivered an undiluted fashion experience designed to tease the purists. The show was defined by elements of worldly, modern dress – scrubs, white men’s shirts, bright ribbed sweaters, denim – romanized into stunning gothic silhouettes from the Gilded Age.
Candy-colored logo denim jackets and maxi skirts were worn back and forth, twisted and tied to create the impression of a busy ball skirt. Sir. Jacobs built up exaggerated prom dress proportions in pink sequins and pastel logo cotton, then switched to oversize, graphic black-and-white leather workwear worn with giant hobo bags.
He stripped it all down in the skinny, gothic minimalism of a cropped white canvas cross worn with a long, black tailored suit skirt slit up the back. He then whipped up classic couture shapes of pink, purple and mint rib knit and sequin puffs stacked on top of straight tank skirts.
In the couture tradition, the show ended with white – a shiny pearly shiny reverse shirt over a long, busy skirt topped with a dramatic scarf / helmet and white leather opera gloves. All the models were shoe in aggressive platform Mary Janes in black or white, and many wore dark wigs that appeared to have been shaved to a serious, neo-goth mullet.
To rave. To the clinic. To the ballroom. Wherever these people went, they made the choice to go through life and look fabulous. In fact, the current concept of “choice” was the guide for Mr. Jacobs’ collection notes.
“We share our choices as opposed to the enduring brutality and ugliness of a world outside our isolated but not impenetrable walls.” A quote from Nietzsche about art in the light of truth ended the emotions.
Sir. Jacobs had turned up Monday night in late June to show off his collection, where most of fashion’s heavy hits are in Europe at the moment when men’s fashion week bleeds into Paris couture shows. A select audience seemed to be just the idea.
Then again, the show was livestreamed all over the Jumbotrons in Times Square. This paradox of niche and mass is a way to hit Mr. Jacobs’ method these days. An interview with Business of Fashion, published on the morning of the show, portrayed a very rosy outlook for the Marc Jacobs brand.
After years of speculation about the brand’s failing health, the new optimism is hung on direct goods – Tote and Snapshot bags and an abundance of highly logoed items that largely feel separate from Mr. Jacobs’ track collections.
From last season, the Marc Jacobs runway collection is only available at Bergdorf Goodman. “Marc is one of the rarest talents we have,” said Linda Fargo, the store’s senior vice president of fashion and store presentation. “I would not say he is necessarily underrated, but in my mind he has a level of innovation and moves the fashion needle in the same way that Miuccia Prada does.”
After the show, security quickly cleared everyone out of Astor Hall. Ms. Fargo stood with a handful of journalists in the backstage area, hoping to hear about Mr. Jacobs’ creative choice from his own mouth. But that was not an option. He had also disappeared.