- “Somewhere over the rainbow—again!” said a silk pajama–clad Marc Jacobs backstage at his show. Fashion’s Wizard of Oz certainly took us on another remarkable journey into his febrile imagination, presenting a collection of outstanding, understated chic that was eerily magical. The set, designed with Stefan Beckman, was a vast circular stage, lit by a giant bitter yellow sun. That light sucked the color from everything in its glow so that the audience in the amphitheater was reduced to a study in moody grays—a single red hat and sweater the only dash of color in the entire space, as though retouched in an ancient daguerreotype.
The light stayed this way as the girls appeared, in their feather-cut sixties wigs. Dark, light, midtone, reflective, and matte became the only criteria to judge the tonality by, throwing all the focus on the silhouettes and the attitude. And Jacobs’s silken pajamas semaphored the message of unfussy ease and ultra-classic pieces. There was a vague whiff of Biba to the clothes—that magical early seventies London emporium that purveyed Jazz Age glamour to the Twiggy set—but without the costume-y quality that those inventive clothes had. There was a glimmering suit with the ease of those that Coco Chanel delighted in before the war; double-face wrap coats held together just by the insouciant gesture of a purse crushed to the bosom; a pinstripe suit with a forties flavor; simple bias sheath dresses gridded with a dark mesh of beadwork and muffled with fox fur pelts; and pajama collars on high-sheen evening jackets or prim little dresses with Peter Pan collars. The accessories had a playfully antebellum quality: exaggeratedly high Louis heels and clip-fastening purses in satin embroidered in sequins to appear like fishnet.
As the last girl made her exit, the light turned white and the first girl appeared again—and the show was rerun in full color. Except that rather than a rainbow revelation, the palette was as subtle and low-key as the clothes themselves. That Chanel-esque suit turned out to be in a shadowy metallic plaid of moody forest green; a thick alpaca dressing gown coat was a soft smoke brown; those pajama tops had been made in stiff duchess satin in soft shades of bois de rose and ink. That quietly glamorous long-sleeved thirties sheath dress was in tarnished gold sequins, worn with a muff of natural red fox, another in ruby panne velvet with an apricot fur cape, whilst silver fox flourished at the neckline on a short evening coat of beetle green sequins. Simple, unprovocative, and ineffably chic, Jacobs’s collection closed the New York shows on a crystal-shattering high C.