Marc Jacobs reprised the fashion show-in-the-round concept of his Fall presentation for Louis Vuitton tonight. But when his party pack of models emerged simultaneously from different parts of the giant burnished gold cylinder he'd installed in the middle of the Lexington Armory, they had left the fifties and sixties of that Vuitton show behind and walked out into the louche, liberated seventies. Make that the seventies by way of one very hedonistic night in the summer of 2010. "I was at Naomi Campbell's birthday party in Cannes," Jacobs said backstage, "and all the girls wore these long dresses, and after dancing all night they hitched them up to the waist." He went on to mention the New York Dolls and Yves Saint Laurent as references—"the usual faves"—plus Naomi's pal Marpessa and other big runway girls of the day. Remember fun? If Jacobs has his way, it could be back.
First and foremost, this collection was about color. In other words, it was one of Jacobs' signature 180s—an exuberant departure from the neutrals of his serene Fall lineup. He opened with an Eastern-inflected coat in an electric orange print, with belled sleeves and an obilike belt. The model, newcomer Luisa Bianchin, wore a huge fabric flower in her red frizz and heavy eye makeup that called to mind the imagery of Guy Bourdin. More prints, on silk now, followed for halter dresses and strapless jumpsuits slit high enough on the thigh to reveal the models' briefs. (Sorry, breast men, the bust's brief resurgence as the reigning erogenous zone looks to be over already; 2011, we promise you, will be the summer of the hot pant.)
There was a satin interlude, an ode to Missoni's zigzag knits, and voluminous peasant dresses with a Rive Gauche air. The girls wore gold glitter platforms, and carried clutches or chain-link shoulder bags small enough to fit comfortably in their hands. Their wide-brimmed straw hats were straight out of Taxi Driver. And yet Jacobs was mostly in control of his potentially lurid subject matter.
The seventies have been in the air for a couple of seasons now. You can already find long dresses and denim flares here and there on Broadway's fast-fashion strip, but none in the materials Jacobs uses—double-face voiles, gauzes, etamines. And none that are half as seductive.