From the moment 16-year-old Lily Cole, wearing a belted, fur-collared tartan coat, set her dainty high-heeled golden bootie onto the snow-covered runway, it was clear this was about to be one of Marc Jacobs¿ delicious Louis Vuitton blockbusters.
Making tartan and solid country fabrics young and sexy isn¿t easyas all too many designers have proved this season. Jacobs clinched it, thoughcutting plaid tight, on the cross, in tiny leg-o'-mutton puffed-sleeve blouses and making slim tweedy skirts explode into flirty, petticoated godets in the hem. On top, he would add girlish tippets (one in faux ermine) tied with a satin bow and accessorize, accessorize: There were velvet bags printed with the house monogram and trompe l'oeil hardware, furry purses, and a myriad shoe-temptations (high plaid spectators, patent stiletto ghillies, brocade ankle boots fastened with ribbon).
"Scotland, Tissot, a little Foujita," said Jacobs, reeling off his research references. To elaborate: His design team had taken a tour of the Highlands, circling Balmoral (Her Majesty the Queen's grand Scottish bolt-hole), then patched in the frothy French prettiness of James Tissot's bustles and lace. The work of Tsuguharu Foujita, a Japanese traditionalist painter who worked in Paris in the twenties, also got pinned to the inspiration boards, striking a cute note for Japan's legion of LV fans.
The Tissot prettinessswagged tartan taffeta, bustle bows, lace-framed décollétes, frilled fur capeletsjust prevented the collection from tipping over the Scottish border into a full-on Vivienne Westwood homage. (Though, since her retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is imminent, Jacobs is probably ahead of the curve in saluting her.) In fact, this show, so delightfully full of rich pickings, was dedicated to another design great who had a profound influence on Jacobs. Stephen Sprouse, the friend who collaborated on the famous Louis Vuitton graffiti bags, died this week, and Jacobs acknowledged his loss in a moving program note.