A new big-shouldered, graphic silhouette is working its way into the fashion system, and Marc Jacobs is bent on making it look like something we’ve never seen before. For starters, his short, slightly stiff navy coat had a large wide-set collar embellished with darkly sparkling disks and swung over a felt skirt, long socks and high square-toe crocodile pumps. The volume of that rounded shoulder, cut on the curve, stood outliterallythrough the entire Louis Vuitton collection. It surfaced in sleeveless coats worn over big-sleeved sweaters and in the new shape of his beloved pea jacket; it was exaggerated even more in the furry mass of a caped Mongolian coat and in the funnel-shaped stole that was part of a suit.
By cropping skirts and dresses short, often with an under layer or a squared-off panel hitting a different level in back, Jacobs filtered 60s and 80s influences to come up with something fresh. There was a touch of the current feel for space-age-slash-medieval militarism in the studded tunics and coats cut to hint at armor-plated layers. Formfitting ribbed knit dresses with a hint of Claude Montana about them ended in a flip of gladiator pleats. But a couple of simply pretty tiered chiffon dresses, tied with velvet bowsand all those cute sockskept the show from stumbling under the weight of its references.
One of the ways Jacobs keeps his luxury lighthearted is an irreverent patching together of precious traditional fabrics with something flashily modern. For fall, he rendered the classic brown-and-yellow monogram in printed vinyl and paired it with tweed in a raincoat and a trashy-meets-ladylike handbaghis iconic Louis Vuitton-craze device for the season.
If the designer had kept his audience guessing at the influences behind the show, all became clear when the fans surged back to congratulate him. As Catherine Denueve emerged from the throng, Jacobs grabbed her hand and exclaimed, “It was you! That David Bailey picture of you in the socks and short skirt. Remember? That and Joan of Arcmy heroines!”