If you weren’t up on the latest changes in the house of Marc Jacobs, you might have been wondering why two blonde women took a bow at the end of the Marc by Marc Jacobs show. Was the designer taking a sick day? No, he was clapping in the front row right next to Sofia Coppola.
Though Jacobs is still involved with the line, most of the credit this time goes to the brand’s new creative director, Katie Hillier, and design director, Luella Bartley, two savvy British fashion veterans with big ideas for shaking things up London-style.
Gone were the clean, sophisticated, vintage-inspired clothes that customers have come to rely on. Hillier and Bartley’s vision is far more youthful and brimming with attitude. On a set of wooden ramps reminiscent of a skate park, the models, all with tight braided pigtails, strutted down the runway at Pier 36 looking ready for a futuristic BMX motocross. Bandanas with scary skeleton teeth were tied over some model’s mouths. Clothes were emblazoned with words such as “revolution,” “rally,” and, in case you somehow missed how fierce the new MBMJ girl is, “grrr.”
It wasn’t all tomboy tough, though. A black biker jacket was paired with the most feminine pleated tulle dress in shimmery gold and black, capes were tied with massive bows, and wrap skirts of different lengths were layered over each other. While this collection felt more suitable for teenagers, there were still many pieces that could pass on a more mature Marc Jacobs fan — such as those wrap skirts, baggy trousers, and an excellent black felt coat. All of it had a freshness that the brand hasn’t had in years. A promising and exciting sign for the future.
Over at Anna Sui, it was all about flappers, old Hollywood glamour, and — Sui’s favorite — bohemians. Anna May Wong, the Chinese-American film star of the ’20s and ’30s, is the designer’s muse for fall. On a smoky runway at Lincoln Center, models were draped in sumptuous leopard-print fur coats, ornate kimonos, and Asian-inspired prints the actress might have worn herself. Except, of course, Sui, a master of making the old new again, never just does straightforward re-creations of an era. All of the vintage chinoiserie was thrown into Sui’s fabulous time-machine blender with floral prints, flashes of camo, Native American designs, sneakers, art deco shapes, and a splash of the ’70s for good measure. The result? One of Sui’s most intriguing collections in recent memory.