For a while now people have been saying that the traditional runway show needs a rethink, and yet the calendar just keeps getting more crowded. Leave it to Marc Jacobs to give a new twist to an old form. In a New York fashion week first, Jacobs partnered with Beats by Dre, who provided headphones for every guest. Without them you couldn’t hear the vocal narrative that record producer Steve Mackey (the husband of Jacobs’ stylist, Katie Grand) conceived with the designer to accompany the show. “The idea was to put everybody in their own world,” Jacobs said backstage of the immersive experience. “It’s what you make of it.” As for the narrative itself, apparently the idea came from a 1976 short film by John Smith called The Girl Chewing Gum. Google it.
But if the point of the headphones was to give the audience a unique experience, the collection, which was paraded around a pink house by models in matching wigs, told a different story. It was all about uniforms. Joan Smalls’ V-neck dress was somewhere between hospital-scrub blue and standard-issue green, and belted at the waist to rein in its slightly oversize shape. As the show progressed, volumes became more pronounced, as did the embellishments. Bigger cargo pockets, shinier buttons, exploding cabochons, and silk duchesse in place of cotton drill. The uniforms weren’t so uniform anymore. Think of them as surplus clothes with couture tweaks—a proposition not all that unlike the one Ralph Lauren came up with this morning, albeit realized in an entirely different way.