February 05, 2006 New York
When pressed for details backstage, Jacobs was vague. "It's about the places I've been, the people I know, world leaders, and winter," he said. The one word he didn't use, though it was uttered by many in the audience, was grunge. Was this a reprise of the seminal collection that lost him his job at Perry Ellis back in 1992? Jacobs wasn't saying. But you saw elements of it in the flannel that was repurposed as strapless dresses, the sweaters that dragged along the knees, and the pants that were so puffy they looked as though they required their own hand pump. (Somewhere, Kal Ruttenstein, the man who famously championed that controversial collection and to whom Jacobs dedicated this show, was smiling.) Come evening, the designer's gorgeous urchins wore black net and metallic sequin dresses distressed to the point of tatters. In the midst of all this were eminently functional, not to mention desirable, coats, capes, shawls, and jackets. And, of course, superluxe bags; this wouldn't be a Jacobs runway without them.
Jacobs is making a habit of 180-degree reversalsgloomy one season, polished and upbeat the next, and now, for fall, disheveled once again. It's remarkable how a man who claimed post-show that he "didn't know what to do" can be full of such captivating ideas.