NYFW: MARC JACOBS F/W 2014

The set itself was ethereal: large, soft, pillow-like clouds hung from the ceiling of the expansive facility. Short, round columns of firm styrofoam lined in endless rows provided the seating and on each seat was laid a single lily. An overly-chatty crowd finally took their seats. The room went dark. There was the sound of rain falling. Then, as the lights slowly came up, the gentle voice of Jessica Lange read, not sang, but read against softly dramatic music:

Happy days are here again,
The skies above are clear again,
Let us sing the song of cheer again,
Happy days are here again.

So long, sad times,
Go long, bad times,
We are rid you at last.

Howdy, gay times.
Cloudy gray times,
You are now a thing of the past.

All together,
Shout it now,
There’s no one who can doubt it now,
We will tell the world about it now,
Happy days are here again!

Your cares and troubles are gone,
There’ll be no more from now on,
Happy days are here again,
The skies above are clear again,
Let us sing the song of cheer again,
Happy days are here again.

The effect was strangely relaxing, hypnotic, and simultaneously creepy. I’m going to have nightmares just from that aspect alone, I know.

The clothes, which is the whole reason for staging this incredible performance in the first place, are, like the sound track, soft. Unlike the sound track, they are not the least bit creepy. In fact, they are quite lovely, hued in the most gentle pastels and fabrics as soft as a baby’s bottom. Even the sparkly sequined pieces, which can sometimes be stiff, seem to flow effortlessly.

Silhouettes are long, practically head to toe in many cases. Several are sleeveless and several of those are open on the side all the way to the waist. Many have leggings underneath split skirts that move gently as one walks. Sweaters, many knitted in such a way as to be sheer, have extra-long sleeves, are light weight and perfect for layering or, if one is Kendall Jenner (yes, the Kardashian half-sister), showing off your nipples.

Patterns, too, were gentle, focusing on soft curves and careful slopes. Browns, tans, and white tended to dominate this section of the collection. That was, until the sequins came along. At that point, pastel blue and purple took over, still very light weight, but assembled in a very unique pattern so that they resemble a very carefully constructed mosaic. They were flashy compared to the rest of the line, but still very quiet, about as subdued as sequins can possibly be.

Delicate layers of thinnest chiffon resembled the clouds above on the final few pieces, as close as Jacobs comes to formal gowns for this season. Some times they covered the full length of the dress, other times they gently undulated across the piece like a random wisp of loveliness.

After all the dark and aggressive tones Marc showed us last season, this fall/winter collection is rather like going wardrobe shopping at the spa. Everything was  calm, serene.

If only I could get Jessica Lange’s voice out of my head.

“Happy days are here again.”

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