Packed onto metal bleachers, waiting late into the night in a sweltering auditorium, fanning themselves with damp program notesit would have taken quite a presentation to lift the weary spirits of the audience members at Marc Jacobs. Instead of rousing the crowd with a high-energy sequel to his color-packed, tightly constructed Fall show, however, Jacobs soothed the savage mood with a sweet confection of a collection, full of pretty clothes and gentle colors.
It didn&'t hurt that the first model out was the rarely sighted Gisele (greeted like a returning rock star), or that Beyoncé was on the soundtrack, or that the clothes were easy to like. Jacobs started his design career at Perry Ellis, whose insouciant take on sportswear and relaxed tailoring defined an era, and tonight he scattered references to Ellis throughout. Loose, menswear-tailored linen trousers and rolled-up seersucker shorts were worn with soft ballerina-wrap cashmere sweaters, or striped silk shirts feminized with scraps of ruffle. Deep-blue chenille was knitted wittily into “denim” jackets and coats, sometimes worn with slim cropped tuxedo pants.
Of course, there was plenty of present-day Jacobs, too. Lovely floral sundresses came in pinks and aquas, panne velvet skirts in muted blues and greens. There were gauzy sheer dresses with pintucking and stacks of rough-edged ruffles, a wonderful gilded trench coat, and a few saucy, sequined minis. And when Gisele closed the night in a swishy pink gown, the roar of applause showed that all was forgiven.