About six minutes – nine, if you count the finale – Astor Hall at the New York Public Library was transformed into a fashion brigade. At 7:30 p.m., Marc Jacobs presented his fall 2022 fashion show. By 7:36 p.m., all 42 looks had walked the runway in front of a single row of 100 guests on metal folding chairs. At 7:39 pm – poof – it was gone.
In attendance 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 by @thefashionuitar.
Christine Quinn, of the reality porn reality show “Selling Sunset,” was dressed in a bandeau and matching leggings printed with the Marc Jacobs logo arranged in graphic black and white vertical repeat. The same logo treatment was plastered all over an M train that recently stopped at a subway platform on the Lower East Side. Then – poof – it was gone.
The scene was minimal. Not a street style circus. No waiting for a VIP to be seated 30 minutes late. Just a few minutes of civilized chat among Mr. Jacobs’ tribe, who will follow their bagpiper wherever he goes.
With the stoic grandeur of the library walls, a Philip Glass score and little else, Mr. Jacobs an undiluted fashion experience designed to excite the purists. The show was defined by elements of everyday, modern attire – scrubs, white men’s shirts, brightly colored ribbed sweaters, denim – romanticized in fantastic gothic silhouettes from the Gilded Age.
Candy logo denim jackets and maxi skirts were worn back and forth, twisted and tied to give the impression of a busy ball skirt. mr. Jacobs built up exaggerated proportions of ball gowns in pink sequins and pastel logo cotton, then moved on to oversized, graphic black and white leather workwear worn with giant bum bags.
He stripped it all down to the sleek, gothic minimalism of a cropped white canvas corset worn with a long black tailored suit skirt with slit at the back. He then created classic couture shapes of pink, purple and mint ribbed knits and sequin puffs atop straight tank skirts.
In the tradition of couture, the show ended with white – a shiny mother-of-pearl backwards shirt over a long bustling skirt topped with a dramatic headscarf/cap and white leather opera gloves. All models were shod in aggressive platform Mary Janes in black or white, and many wore dark wigs that appeared shaved in a stern, Gothic Revival mullet.
To the raves. To the clinic. To the ballroom. Wherever these people go, they have chosen to look fabulous through life. The current concept of ‘choice’ was indeed the reason for Mr Jacobs’ collective notes.
“We share our choices in contrast to the continued brutality and ugliness of a world beyond our isolated but not impenetrable walls.” A quote from Nietzsche about art in the face of truth closed off the feelings.
Mr. Jacobs had chosen a Monday evening to show his collection at the end of June, when most of the fashion hits in Europe are as men’s fashion week turns into the couture shows of Paris. A select audience seemed to like the idea.
On the other hand, the show was streamed live over the Jumbotrons in Times Square. This paradox of niche and mass is one way of framing Mr. Jacobs’ methodology today. An interview with Business of Fashion, published the morning of the show, painted a very rosy picture of the Marc Jacobs brand.
After years of speculation about the brand’s ill health, its new-found optimism hinges on pure merch: the Tote and Snapshot bags and a plethora of logo-heavy stuff largely detached from the heady creativity of the catwalk collections. mr. Jacobs.
Since last season, the Marc Jacobs catwalk 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’m not saying he’s undervalued per se, but in my opinion he has a level of innovation and moves the fashion needle in the same way Miuccia Prada does.”
After the show, security quickly removed everyone from Astor Hall. Mrs. Fargo stood in the backstage area with a handful of reporters, hoping to hear from his own mouth about Mr. Jacobs’s creative choices. But it wasn’t an option. He had also disappeared.