February 15, 2009 New York
The show started simply enough, with a gray cardigan sweater and charcoal trousers, but when the model walked past, you saw the back half of a kilt and braces—Jacobs' new uniform—and knew it was going to get personal. He worked his way through little silver-and-black A-line shifts; party dresses in metallic leathers and floral brocades with flaring, full skirts and monster shoulders; velvet bustier tops and high-waisted over-dyed jeans; and Crayola-bright jackets, capes, and hooded coats. The only filter that separated these clothes from their East Village forebears was the expensive, luxury fabrics they came in. Every girl had a different hairdo, shellacked into Mohawks, flips, and bouffants, and the makeup was straight off the album cover of Duran Duran's Rio. The cumulative effect of all that color, volume, and optimism? One editor called it "A Flock of Seagulls meets Alexis Carrington."
Will fashion as outrageously ebullient as this—in some cases, make that just plain outrageous—sell in the harsh reality of the late aughts? (And talking about harsh: More than 1,000 people were nixed from the invitation list this season in a cost-cutting slash and burn.) Jacobs insists that he wasn't thinking about the economy when he was working on the collection, and maybe he wasn't. These days, wagering that women will splash out on feel-good clothes is as good a bet as any.