The scene Marc Jacobs set at his evocative show for Louis Vuitton this morning was that of a grand hotel. Out of fifty numbered rooms lining the runway, models emerged in varying states of dress and undress. One wore a flower-embroidered double-breasted jacket and matching briefs with her platform sandals and fifties wig, an echo of a silhouette Jacobs showed in New York nearly three weeks ago. The pajamas of that collection reemerged here as well. More often, though, he conveyed a sense of intimacies exposed—the walk of shame, some called it, which fits with what he was saying backstage about our exhibitionistic and voyeuristic tendencies. There were lace-edged negligees under sweeping astrakhan coats, printed silk brassiere-and-slip sets, and peignoirs lined with plush fur. Daywear, too, evoked the boudoir: Skirtsuits were stitched with degradé embroideries, deep feather hems decorated oversize men's coats.
Jacobs has taken us to hotels before—the quartet of old-fashioned cage elevators from his Fall ’11 Claridge's collection lingers in the memory. But where that show had an erotic undercurrent of sex, the takeaway today was more romantic. Back then, Kate Moss wore hot pants; here she was in a long-sleeve tulle dress embroidered with flowers. This was a romance with intimations of decadence and melancholy, though: Only the very indulged or the very depressed stay in their jammies all day. For his bow, Jacobs wore the pj's from Vuitton's recent men's collection, which feature Jake and Dinos Chapman's print interpretation of Diana Vreeland's Garden in Hell apartment. That's a choice ripe for interpretation. You couldn't blame him for wanting a nap, given his myriad responsibilities. On the other hand, with his fiftieth birthday coming up next month, perhaps he's simply achieved a greater sense of relaxation. Afterward, the designer shrugged off any special meaning. "I haven't worn anything else for months," he said.
The clothes on the runway were lovely, with their muted, sleepy colors and the deluxe details that Vuitton does so well. Luxury was the word for the bags, too, which were Vuitton classics like the Speedy, the Lockit, and the Pochette Accessoires in materials that included marabou feathers and waxed crocodile. If the collection felt less provocative than usual, in spite of the suggestion of illicit goings-on behind closed hotel-room doors, that's emblematic of a season in which designers have turned en masse to the look of midcentury clothes. That could have been prompted by last season's Miu Miu collection, but Jacobs has never hidden his affection for the work of Miuccia Prada. If the Vuitton designer is comfortably part of the pack this season, the clothes were none the worse for that.