Marc Shakes Up New York

Marc Jacobs' voluminous collection caused quite a stir - some liked its direction and some didn't - as the New York shows rolled on.

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Certainly, the preshow mania provided ample fodder for those who take glee in lampooning fashion’s considerable follies. A young woman known to absolutely no one, but done up lesser-celebrity style in full runway regalia, got the same paparazzi treatment as Uma Thurman. The photographers circled around, shouting, “Ma’am! Ma’am!” (A pop star from Hong Kong, it turns out.) She and Uma had long settled in before Beyoncé’s rude welcome when the locusts swarmed again. Let’s face it, ticked or not, no photographer could risk missing the shot. Finally, the pack retreated. Some had to be nearly dragged away, while others sashayed quickly at the sight of “Shorty,” the star’s mammoth bodyguard.

By show time, the crowd mood ranged from antsy to hopping mad, but none would dare be the uncool kid who got up and left. Still, with enough support, Joan Kaner is set to take a hike next time out. “If you get people there at nine, and you can’t get it done by 10, then move it to 10 the next morning,” she said. “We should all just get up and walk out.”

It is, of course, testimony to Jacobs’ clout, his significance to New York fashion’s worldwide reputation, that that has never happened, and that reality in turn irritates people all the more. Which may or may not have impacted the conviction with which both retailers and editors voiced morning-after opinions. Calling it “grunge couture,” Kaner cited “lovely jackets and coats. But all those long, heavy skirts don’t cut it.”

Not surprisingly, the most overt loathing was kept off the record. Since she’s on the record today anyway, Suzy Menkes spoke up. “I knew what Marc was trying to do, but a lot of it can only be done in a couture atelier,” she said. “I know he spends a lot of time in Paris, but he shouldn’t neglect the American essence which is about charm, ease and prettiness. I don’t think any of that was in the show.”

Elizabeth Saltzman of Vanity Fair acknowledged that this was far from her favorite Jacobs collection. “Maybe it was just a step forward,” she said. “Look at Miuccia Prada last season. People were less accepting of her show, and now we’re seeing its influence.”
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