So you all know that I was less-than-enamored with the Posen-Jacobs fugfest of Spring 2010. However, all the editors out there love, love, loved. I thought I must have missed something, so I called on Fancy Fashion Person Alison Baenen from Style.com to school me. The take-home? I need to lighten up. Spring 2010 is party-time, excellent.
Dear Nana Banana,
Hi! This is fun. Thanks so much for asking me to be on your lovely blog.
It's interesting that you called out these two collections in particular, and it makes me think you must be more of a fancy fashion person than you give yourself credit for. Both of these shows were big turning points for these designers. For Zac, this was a huge departure from his usual super-glam, forties-inspired–-and, occasionally, over-the-top--red carpet fare. For Marc, he proved that he's perennially capable of turning trends on their heads: He completely abandoned the eighties tack he took last season (which subsequently appeared everywhere) and went in a totally new direction.
As for the clothes, I liked this outing much more than anything else we've seen from Zac in the past few seasons. He's a young designer--only 28--but he'd gotten in a rut of designing for a much fussier woman than the coterie of PYTs he's actually friends with. One good thing about Zac that stays true from season to season is his uncanny ability to flatter a woman's figure. I love those sweet little nipped waists on his swingy dresses, and the cut-outs were right on trend.
Would I wear any of these pieces with the giant, shaggy, turquoise shrugs he showed them with? Absolutely not. But if you strip away the scarves, the shiny raincoats, and the cheeky accessories, what you're left with is a youthful, light-hearted collection of party dresses. I would wear one of the shorter ones to go out dancing, but only if someone loaned it to me for the night. Ultimately, there are other things I'd rather spend my money on.
Which brings us to Marc.
I think it's important to point out something that wasn't terribly obvious to me when I first started going to fashion shows: In a lot of cases, the clothes you see on the runway are idealized versions of the clothes that will end up in stores. Sheer dresses will come with slips, crazy ball-gowns bedecked with yards of trim will show up with only a bit of finery, and geometric shoulders constructed out of football pads will be slimmed down so the wearer can fit through a doorway. At their best, runway shows should be about excitement and escapism--big ideas culled from a trove of references that have something to say about past trends, present predicaments, and future aspirations. But the industry is too saturated for people to expect transcendence at runway shows anymore, especially in New York. There are too many middling designers who long for the Bryant Park seal of approval and the message a big show will send to the buyers. That's why shows like Marc Jacobs' are so special...and leave some people scratching their heads.
My favorite thing about this season's Marc show was the mood. He was inspired by dancers leaving the theater after a performance: Their makeup is still on, their hair's still done, but they've rolled up their leggings under their costumes, thrown on a raincoat, and slid into flats. For me, he got that sense of piled-on, mismatched, practical-yet-playful dressing just right. He combined elements of women's lingerie with pieces of men's suiting, threw a ruffle on practically everything, and gave a nod to Japanese design. Marc loves to load up on the references, and I'm sure I've missed a few and read too much into some others. But the mood was infectious, and I can't wait to see how this translates to the stores in the spring.
Does that help explain the geisha faces a little?