It’s no mystery that designers are inspired by the things they see, hear, read and watch. What’s important, is what they do with them.
Marc Jacobs’ autumn-winter 2018 show during New York Fashion Week was a haul of references. Droll, but delightful, it was a spell-binding feat for a pop culture fiend.
See: Marc Jacobs AW18 Collection
The look was extreme. We’re talking David Byrne’s suit in Talking Heads’ Girlfriend is Better immense. From the vast shoulders, oversized sleeves, XXL scarves and ballooning ruffles to the colossal bows, absolutely nothing was done by halves. The exaggerated silhouette matched the ‘80s renaissance palette. Primary colours - lifted no doubt from the Memphis Group - swept the spotlit catwalk. Ultra-luxe silks recalled the opulence of Dynasty.
It wasn’t what you would call traditionally sexy - other than the single teeny shorts look - but it was sassy. Taking Working Girl’s empowerment and multiplying it by the group mentality of Heathers and the square root of Princess Diana’s OTT wedding dress meant what this collection had was attitude. It was this, plus the large-scale tailoring, swaddling outerwear and top-heavy silhouette that called to mind the early Zoot Suits of the Pachucos community and the work ’80s stylist Ray Petri (who’s best known for creating the Buffalo aesthetic). Ergo, discussing the make-up (a glitter cat-eye, if you’re curious) is not worth talking about as it was either shadowed by the wide-brim of the hats or entirely covered by the fringes of the dip-dyed bowl-cut wigs.
Marc Jacobs isn’t the only designer to reference the 1980s - Tom Ford, Adam Selman and Brandon Maxwell have too. This Regan-Thatcher era look acts as a swift analogy for the Trumpian era we’re living through. It’s a nod and a wink to politics, which is the very most one can ever expect from Jacobs whose fashion is much more comfortable when riddled with fantasy.
As the New York Fashion Week calendar may be shrinking with more brands deciding to show off-schedule or overseas, it’s made room for more upcoming brands to steal the spotlight. From Vaquera to Telfar, labels worthy of hype (but rarely succeeding at receiving it) are now sharing a platform with the likes of Marc Jacobs. Add in the current rumours about the financial stability of Marc Jacobs the brand, it was very important that Marc Jacobs the designer proved himself. Beneath the shadow of those wide-brim hats, we’re pretty sure he did.