NYFW: MARC JACOBS S/S 2014

Here we are, down to the last show of New York Fashion Week and a thunderstorm breaks out over New York. Inside the immense Armory building, the set for Marc Jacobs looks eerily like a hurricane has just hit the New Jersey boardwalk, a scene unsettling to many. It’s hot and the music is creepy. No one expects anything short of dramatic from Marc Jacobs, but where the hell was he going with this one?

Clothes coming down the runway were mystifying at first. Oversized jackets with embroidered hibiscus leaves over black skate boarder shorts with shoes that are sort of Brikenstock-ish with a touch of Tevas seemed more anti-Spring than seasonally appropriate. Does Marc actually think anyone is going to wear this?

As we go through this very large collection, the clothes begin to make a little more sense. At least  there are elements one might actually recognize. Printed dresses cut like maxi-length jersey dresses looks a bit more comfortable, but what are those shredded sheer things on the arms? Are they sleeves? Are they arm coverings? The look is rather cool in a deconstructionist/goth sort of way, but I’m still not sure exactly what they are.

Then, as though he were channeling Tim Burton, the collection went full-on goth. Black Victorian-styled dresses with sheer cutouts and loaded with sequins appeared one after the other. Wrestling boots were the footwear of choice. Again, there’s an in-your-face coolness to what Marc’s doing, but are we really going to call this a Spring collection?

At the end of the show, maybe it was just me, but the audience seemed to make a hastier exit than usual. There were a lot of questions and no one was coming forward with any good answers. I tweeted that the experience was likely to give me nightmares. Turns out, that was exactly what Jacobs intended.

“I don’t have one friend who dresses in all white,” the designer said after the show, referring to the countless white-on-white ensembles we’ve seen this week. “I didn’t want the cliché of Spring and Summer, I wanted it to be about girls who have no problem coming to work in a Victorian gown and Birkenstocks. It’s more of a weird frat party, Burning Man, shores-of-Gotham City sort of beach scene. It’s a lovely nightmare, or it was for me anyway.”

So, maybe Marc Jacobs is a genius going against all the popular trends, and common sense, of the season. Or maybe he’s made so much money he doesn’t really care if you buy his clothes next spring.

Or maybe we’ve yet to wake up from his nightmare.

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