Once, not terribly long ago, Marc Jacobs' menswear collection—even in its highest-end, made-in-Italy iteration—was a paean to the young and the restless. The sweaters were aggressively pilled, the graphics graffitied, and the whole line had a nose-thumbing antiluxury luxury vibe. Today, a browse through the showroom racks revealed there are still pilled sweaters and graffiti graphics (this season, as usual, by longtime Jacobs collaborator Bäst), but the image the label is out to convey has been noticeably spruced up.
The icons for Fall were Bryan Ferry and Jack Nicholson in their seventies lothario incarnations, dressing to kill. (The underline to this point was a peacock-feather print, which showed up all over.) Their influence gave the clothes a slithery, séducteur vibe: suits with wider, longer pants and long, almost stretched jackets; full-length shearling and beaver-trimmed double-breasted alpaca overcoats; velvet cut into everything from shirting to baseball caps to tuxes. An oversize robe coat—an item that, against all odds, has turned up in a handful of collections this Milan
season—was practically postcoital. Yet when worn by a teenage model and rounded out by novelty bits like wool track pants and surplus-store military jackets, the collection retained—to its credit—a hint of the mischievous, kids-amok-in-the-retro-shop flavor it always had. If these are swaggering Nicholsons and Ferrys, they're embryonic versions. Which begs the question: Can you teach a new dog old tricks?