Here comes the sun
Last weekend's East Coast snowstorm left one fashion casualty. Marc Jacobs moved his show from Monday to Thursday night — the last night of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week — when the delivery of fabric and other materials for his collection were delayed by the inclement weather.
It was worth the wait.
The most ambitious designer in the United States, Jacobs has the vision to regularly produce something special and the finances to support it. (The set for his 12-minute show regularly runs more than a million dollars.) He always creates a story with his fashion shows, although it's not always easy to decipher what it is at first.
As the clothes were cast in a new light, it became apparent that this is one of Jacobs' most commercial collections.
In this case, a huge ball of light cast a yellow glow onto the insides of the gigantic New York Armory building, making the audience, including Miley Cyrus, Christina Ricci and Sofia Coppola, look jaundiced. I wondered, was it a harvest moon, with a salute to prairie life? Or a nod to the land of the midnight sun and the wonders of Japan?
In this case, neither.
Jacobs explained to reporters afterward that it was a reference to The Weather Project, a popular 2003 installation at the Tate Modern in London, where artist Olafur Eliasson installed a huge, yellow artificial indoor sun made from an 18,000-watt bank of sodium streetlight bulbs.
In review of the project, the Guardian in London said, "Eliasson wants us to consider why we talk about the weather so much, and how weather impinges on our culture and our sense of ourselves."
Jacobs appears poised to engage us in a similar conversation: How do we see the light?
As models came out and walked the perimeter of the large circular set, the light gave the collection an odd sheen. The mix of sequined dresses, oversized wool coats, high-waisted short shorts, sparkly pencil skirts and pajama-like silk shirts all were cast in the same golden glow.
But then the runway was cast in a different light as the models made another turn on the catwalk — and the clothing came to life. The audience discovered that the satin gowns come in various shades of brown and red, the pajama tops are a dusty rose, and the sequined gowns shine in silver, black, red and green. Those that had been gold before remained gold.
It was the ultimate sense of illusion.
As the clothes were cast in a new light, it became apparent that this is one of Jacobs' most commercial collections. Even though he featured a topless model in high-waisted short shorts, hiding her breasts with a strategic placement of her arm, the collection has a Main Street aura about it, with loads of sensible wool coats, textured angora suits, distinctive day dresses and red-carpet evening gowns that are likely to be praised on Fashion Police.
But, I wonder, is having Joan Rivers in your corner a good thing?