Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Brown bag it...

Marc Jacobs

There's something about Marc Jacobs' new collection for Fall Winter 2010 that has the feeling of comfort food. It's familiar, and it leaves you satisfied, content, and all warm and gooey on the inside. Since about 2007 or so Marc has been pushing himself to expand upon the his reputation, moving beyond the cool, effortless, quirky style that made him famous. As a result his shows became more polished, the ideas he explored more avant garde, and his collections more challenging. All that paid off though, because he went from being fashion's darling to being a fashion leader. Somewhere along the line he also became a household name and something of a pop culture fixture. Now personally, I liked that he took his work to a new extreme. Regardless of the fact that he's been accused of pillaging other designer's work for ideas while abandoning his own identity, the truth is that besides putting a new spin on the ideas he was influenced by he also proved that he's capable of creating more than reworked vintage pieces and it-bags. But I'd be lying if I said that there wasn't a small part of me that didn't miss the good old days when things were simpler.

Well for next winter Marc seemed to be channeling those good old days, revisiting a lot of the things that made him famous to begin with, and the results couldn't be more refreshing. Stripping away the references, trends, themes, and statements Jacobs sent out the bottom line; clothes. But it was so much more than that. The lack of hype, the lack of forced newness was kind of like a statement in itself. It was honest, pure and simple to understand. Because Jacobs was drawing on his own past, his love of vintage, his love of quirky shapes, his love of sportswear and high/low parallels the show and the clothes had soul to them. Normally it's fun to try and spot the mish-mash of references that go into a Marc Jacobs collection, and to try and decode what it is that he's saying, but this time around there really doesn't seem like much of a need to go there. The mellow palette, made up almost exclusively of neutral colors with an emphasis on beige, brown, tan and cream was relaxing and practical, and the soft, rich colors made me think of the way fresh baked bread or warm sugar cookies smell. Beyond that all I get is a big dose of old school Marc Jacobs with a more grown up kind of polish to it.

From the A-line skirts and dresses to neatly belted coats with fluffy Mongolian lamb fur collars and cuffs, sharp wide leg trousers, sweet lingerie looking chemises, and finally evening gowns with a broken in, dishevelled kind of beauty the collection was filled with pieces that were both pragmatic and whimsical. This being Marc Jacobs, there were touches of wit in things like a sweater with trompe l'oeil "sleeves" tied at the neck like a cardigan or a peacoat with a misplaced center button that made the coat looked shrugged on with a slight flare to it. But for the most part the clothes were straightforward, and that's their strength. Even without the over the top styling, staging or statements the collection has managed to excite people, probably for no other reason than the fact that it's beautiful. The ease and familiarity of the clothes, coupled with the renditions of "Over The Rainbow" that provided the soundtrack made for a serene show that, cheesy as it sounds, cast a spell over the viewer. I feel like it's been a while since many designers, not just Marc, have shown a collection that had no greater ambition than to just be beautiful. More and more it feels like there needs to be some kind of hook, gimmick, or lots of flash to get people interested in a collection. The expectations of a designer have gotten so high that very few can actually meet them, let alone exceed them. Besides providing excitement on a runway, they're expected to deliver something unique, something flattering, something that's going to jump off the pages of a magazine, and something that women will need. Leave it to Marc, ever ahead of the game, to remind everyone that if you've got the goods they'll pretty much speak for themselves.

all images from style.com

No comments: