A giant sun was suspended from the ceiling of the Lexington Avenue Armory for tonight's Marc Jacobs show, postponed from his usual Monday night slot due to delivery issues. The orb turned your seatmates' faces a startling shade of yellow, but when you looked across the enormous concrete stage, everything was in shades of gray, almost like an old sepia photo. It had the same desaturating effect on the clothes Jacobs sent out. You could make out patterns, like the microplaid of a simple shirtdress, and you could see texture, such as the mohair of snug tops, the fox fur on coats, or the flash of sequins, but you couldn't really determine their color beyond guessing whether something was light or dark. If he had left it at that, it would have been an intriguing though ultimately frustrating experience. But then Jacobs turned up the house lights and sent all 55 models, who wore matching shag wigs, out again to repeat the circuit. It was then you noticed that some of the plaid actually sparkled and that from dress to dress the sequins changed from navy to burgundy to rose to shimmering gold.

This isn't the first time that Jacobs has fiddled with the traditional runway show format—several years ago, he staged a show back to front. But why send the clothes out twice, first colorless, then not? Jacobs lifted the low-frequency light idea from Olafur Eliasson's The Weather Project at the Tate in London, a show that resonated with him after his newly rebuilt West Village house was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. "Last season was all black and white, and life unfortunately isn't that way, it's all the shades of gray," he said backstage. "I've felt out of sorts, and I wanted to see things sort of dismal and then still show the optimistic side." "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," a song we've heard at an MJ show before, was the other obvious reference point.

As for the clothes themselves, they were stripped down and irony-free: cable-knit sweaters, tailored blazers and vests, silk pajamas, fox chubbies, scads of high-waisted briefs—all familiar from Jacobs' oeuvre. The fact that the designer came out for his bow in pajamas of his own (Prada, for the record) offered a clue. He was after the comfort of the familiar. In a New York season strong on real-life clothes, the straightforwardness of that approach resonated. Partially led by Jacobs himself, fashion has been dominated these last few years by high-concept and often overelaborate clothes, and tonight's new direction felt right. There were terrific coats here for days, as well as neat little office-bound sweater and pencil skirt sets. For after-dark, Jacobs layered on those sequins: the most striking looks a pair of evening coats in oversize paillettes with plush fox fur draped around the neck. When the models came out for the finale, they assembled themselves into an orb of their own. Only Marc could turn a bout of melancholy and such simple clothes into the show of the week.