It's easy to think that Marc by Marc Jacobs, the designer's popular secondary label, is a playground compared to his intensely focused, heavily scrutinized main collection. All the layering, wrapping, and oddball oppositions of color and pattern give the line a charismatic, "Hey, let's try this!" spontaneity. Of course, a Marc by Marc show is also calculated hodgepodge; there are precious few women who could assemble, much less pull off, this girlish, pile-it-on aesthetic. But then again, the runway is for make believe, and at least for a few moments, Jacobs can fill it however he likes.
His pop culture reference this season was the mid-eighties, when New Romantic groups like Bow Wow Wow and the World Famous Supreme Team wore oversize worker's clothes with multicultural hippie touches like embroidery, crisscrossed sashes, and patchwork. Jacobs used plenty of color and played off soft indigo jeans and shorts (often held up with chunky leather belts). He sent out a rock-steady crew's worth of soft tops and loose, floaty dresses in a variety of retro-feeling prints, and showed trench coats cut as full as a ball gown. Great pieces came out thick and fast, as Grandmaster Flash played in the background; in fact, sometimes the array went from dazzling to dizzying. Would it be nice if he dropped two or three pieces from each outfit to give us a better look at all those ideas? Yesbut then it wouldn't be Marc.