So, forget what you’ve heard. About the sixties being the reigning decade and all that. Because as shown at Marc by Marc Jacobs yesterday, the eighties were strong – and they were calling.
Featuring punky high-bun hairstyles, there were more polka dots than Sarah Jessica Parker pre-SATC – like some sort of reworked Spongebob Squarepants (something Marc Jacobs himself, as well as Jeremy Scott at Moschino is into – the former Marc by Marc creative director has the man, the myth, the legend that is Spongebob, tattooed in colour on his right bicep).
Polka dot bandeau bras were layered over white T-shirts, worn with white and black latex leggings, galosh-style ankle boots and geeky staples like overalls and anoraks. In fact, it was a very practical collection, you could go splashing around in the rain and you’d be fine, even in one of the layered mini-dresses with origami pleats.
Except for the handbags, which were clean-lined futuristic affairs and looked much like a plastic black oil can, without a nozzle. Or something.
There was no doubt that this was a young, fun collection, as befits the brand. Marc by Marc is the diffusion line of Marc Jacobs mainline and, since last season, creatively spearheaded by Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley. If you’ve got a modicum of interest in ‘the fashions’ then you’ll know that these ladies come with a reputation almost as strong as MJ’s himself.
A fashion consulant and jewellery designer at Hillier London, when Katie was asked to be creative director of Marc by Marc, she had one caveat: she wanted a co-pilot. And she wanted Luella. Rather adorably, Katie was Luella’s assistant 15 years ago when Luella launched her eponymous, gleefully girly line Luella in 1999. Luella sadly folded in 2009 and you might have remembered Alexa being really sad about this – she was frequently seen in one of her layered floral mini-skirts or bright tulle mini-dresses at the height of the brand’s success. We were pretty sad, too: we may have done an eBay haul and saved some for posterity. We’re still hoping it might come back.
So with the double act back together for AW14, their collection at NYFW in February was applauded for bringing back some ‘cool’ into the brand, which had become a little too cute. There’s nothing cute about it now. The Marc by Marc girl – most successfully personified by the new supermodel on the block, redhead Natalie Westling – is tough. She wears heavy boots and T-shirts over dresses and she’s not afraid to clash the elements.
There’s something very appealing about that, even if you won’t be wearing an itsy bitsy polka dot bandeau over your sweater any time soon.
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Picture: Getty, Jason Lloyd-Evans
This article originally appeared on The Debrief.