Hard and soft, past and present, good girl and bad girl—Marc Jacobs loves to play with opposites. For Spring, he worked all those elements together into a collection that was sweet but with a hint of a hard edgelike a debutante who knows the bartender's name, or like Exene Cervenka, the lead singer of L.A. punk band X, whose songs made up the bulk of the night's soundtrack.
Part of the season's interesting dichotomy came from the silhouette: Jacobs cut a more frankly feminine shape than he has in the recent past, with deep necklines on full-skirted dresses, body-hugging sheaths under boxy jackets, and snug pencil skirts or cigarette pants paired with sexy camisole tops. And part of it was his flower-garden color choices: soft pink, lavender, pale yellow, orange, chartreuse, and ivory. For even greater contrast, he manipulated soft, airy fabrics like satin, lace, and cashmere against dense ribbed ottoman, nubby, Chanel-evoking tweeds, and silk shantung.
Jacobs brings in retro references both obliquely and directly; this season, he picked up bits from the cocktail-shaker days of the fifties and sixties: tiny bows and rolled collars, woozy polka-dot prints, "cocktail" dresses made from lace and satin. But despite its knowing dalliance with the past, this was a collection rooted very firmly in the here and now.