When Beyoncé Knowles finally emerged from backstage at the Lexington Avenue Armory somewhere near 10:30 last night, she was greeted by a raucous round of boos the likes of which seldom pulse through major fashion show venues. Turns out, she was wrongly accused, as K.C.D. staffers then ran a lap of interference around the front row, explaining, “The clothes are all here now. We’ll start soon.” And so, after 90 minutes of mass scowls, sighs and swearing to skip it next time, the crowd settled in for 10 minutes of audacious brilliance in which Jacobs showed one of the best collections of his career. It was certainly his gutsiest since grunge, made more so by the circumstance of his stature: A designer at fashion’s pinnacle has so much more to lose than a renegade kid.
Of course, fashion is nothing if not a judgement call. The event caused a level of partisanship and ill will to rival that of the last Presidential election. While Bloomingdale’s Kal Ruttenstein — a major Jacobs’ fan, there from the beginning — said, “I think it was my favorite Marc Jacobs collection, even better than grunge,” at least two senior-level audience members, albeit less inclined to speak for attribution, used the word “hate.” Others took a less impassioned view. “Sometimes you’re leaving Marc’s show, and you’re not sure you got all of it,” said Neiman Marcus’ Karen Katz. “But then over the next few seasons, it becomes very influential.”
But no one defended the wait. “Marc’s an incredible talent, but this called for an apology,” said In Style’s Hal Rubenstein. “When you meet Marc in person, he’s so charming and has such incredible respect for what other people do. But when a show begins like that, there’s a disconnect. Because all of a sudden, you feel that this person doesn’t give a crap about anything I have to do and about my requirements. That doesn’t match with Marc, and I don’t understand. That’s the part I’d like you to print.”