“Oh. My. Gawd. Call the girls. It’s a rave!”
Okay, so I didn’t actually hear anyone say that, but that was exactly the vibe being sent at Marc by Marc Jacobs this afternoon. Is this what happens when Marc let’s a couple of Brits have free reign with his secondary, and admittedly more junior-focused, fashion line? Katie Hillier, the creative director, and Luella Bartley, who heads design might have been channeling their own teen years, given this is a very 90s look. I mean, first there’s the neon triangles and the gobo lights. Then, there’s the knotted faux haux hair styles. Oh, and don’t forget the plastic booties in your favorite colors.
“Gag me with, like, a spoon or other rounded utensil.” Sorry, 80s reference. Sue me, I’m old.
What we really have here falls more on the side of avant garde. Deconstruct the pieces and one finds that beneath all the absurd styling lies some very strong and fundamental design; the type of stuff that ends up being mainstream in, oh, ten years or so. Take a careful look at the individual touches, because I’m willing to bet we’ll see them again in other incarnations.
Let’s take, for example, what seems to be a rather puzzling manner of stuffing a t-shirt inside a bikini top. At first, and maybe even second, glance the look might cause one to shudder. Surely this is a horrible fashion error. Not really. The juxtaposition of contrasting fabrics is what causes the alarm. Were both elements of the same or more complimentary fabrics, we would likely have a very different reaction, but we also might not have appreciated exactly what the design is accomplishing in the process. Taken in context, the look is actually quite amazing.
The girls have done similar things bringing in minimalist construction pieces and applying those folds and wraps in new and unique ways. So the material being used has absolutely huge black polka dots on them. Again, the material becomes the communication vehicle for something much more profound going on with the garments. Take nothing in this collection at face value. Deconstruct and reconstruct these ensembles and one discovered some incredible fashion engineering taking place.
One of the eye-catching elements is the latex leggings and arm covers. Most of the leggings are in black, most of the arm coverings are in pink. They’re elements we’ve seen before so no one really gave them too much consideration. But down toward the end of the collection, at look 30 and 31 or so, they do the leggings in pink. The effect is startling because it makes the legs look totally plastic, as though someone had mechanized a doll. Is there a social statement to be made here? I don’t want to read too much into what might have simply been a stylistic choice, but the potential message is rather profound.
A lot of people are not going to understand this Marc by Marc Jacobs collection and probably the majority of people who are over 25 and go to bed before 2 AM aren’t going to like it at all. Take a moment to consider what all is really here, though, and I think you’ll find there is much more than meets the eye.
Photo credit: Valerio Mezzanatti