February 13, 2011 New York
And not without a healthy dose of kink, it would seem. Jacobs worked with the British company House of Harlot on the show's latex button-downs and "rubber to look like sequins" dresses. With all that plastic—not to mention the taut chin straps attached to Stephen Jones' vinyl berets, and Marilyn Manson screaming about "The Beautiful People" on the soundtrack—it was tempting to think Jacobs was making a comment about our contemporary fixation on self-betterment.
The idea of personal improvement played out in another way, because many of the things the designer put on this runway were redos of his own oeuvre. Take the polka dots, for instance. The first collection he showed in New York 20-odd years ago was covered in spots. Here, they appeared large and small, even in three dimensions on a ponyskin sweater and skirt studded with plastic cabochons. Jacobs is always playing with high and low, and he was back at it tonight, cutting a sweater in Shetland wool on the front and cashmere on the back, or trimming a mock-croc bomber jacket in real fox fur.
When he dipped into his own archives for his Fall show of a year ago, the results were nostalgic and romantic. With its stride-defying hobble skirts and wedge-heel patent boots, this offering demands a little more commitment from the wearer. It was provocative and somehow more precise, and all those slick surfaces had a hard allure. Backstage, Jacobs talked about the discipline of fashion, pointing out the rigor of fitting 63 girls in one day. Disciplined is a good word for it. He had his uncomplicated fun last season, and now he's prepared to get sweaty in a latex shirt buttoned up to his throat. Give the rest of us a few months and we'll be right there with him.