Is Marc Jacobs waking up to the potential of the modest fashion market, one that the upcoming Singapore Fashion Week will be dedicating space to?
For his spring/summer 2018 show, Mr Jacobs and co-conspirator, the milliner Stephen Jones, had the head of every model on the runway—Gigi Hadid’s too!—swaddled. They’ve been described as turbans but some could easily be gift wraps, except for Ms Hadid’s, one of two that looked like how you may fashion a towel on your head after washing your hair. Nor are they anything like Rosie the Riveter’s. And definitely not the staggering towers of Erykah Badu’s.
The wearing of the turban is, of course, not necessarily connected with modesty. Hollywood of yore saw many actresses wearing turbans as fashion wear unrelated to proclivity for concealing their hair, among them Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford. Is Mr Jacobs trying to revive past glamour? What cultural appropriation would he be accused of this time?
Watching his music-free, joyless show (no matter how colourful, it just felt glum), it is not easy to reconcile the hint at bygone head-wear glamour with the clothes. Mr Jacobs seemed to be trying to capture the Zeitgeist. He offered the volume of the moment, the cross-cultural hybrid of the day, the iridescence prevalent in the pop/social media sphere of the generation. There was a bit of Hollywood, a dash of Harlem, and whole lot of street (wear).
It is all fine (and dandy?) to reflect the taste of times, but does it adequately say anything about Mr Jacobs as a leader of the pack? The oversized suits, which really looked like they were the wrong size, came seasons too many after Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga (alright, somewhere among them is a zoot suit!). Those big sweaters and cardigans, they are, by now, too associated with Raf Simons. And the retro prints: Pucci and Prada bedded?
As we were writing this, a WhatsApp message from a reader appeared, interrupting our pondering: “What would Marc Jacobs do if he didn’t have YSL and Rei (Kawakubo) to be ‘inspired’ by?” What indeed? But Mr Jacobs has become so adept at iterating his obsessions that he has become a parody of his own parody, obliterating possible inspirations. When we looked at those boiler suits (worn with flashy jewellery) and the fanny packs that already had their day at Chanel, we can’t help but think of the grunge collection of so many years ago that nearly destroyed him.
Marc Jacobs is in many ways like the garish pairing of accessories of the collection—for example, dangling and sparkly earrings with those bum bags (worn in front! If we were to wear it similarly, we’d look like the kopi tiam’s kopi soh!): a chronic contradiction who succeeds when he is able to swing between YSL and Rei, or straddle the two. In his world, still coloured by the excesses of Studio 54 and informed by the flashiness of hip-hop-era-on African-American dress, Marc Jacobs is phoney flamboyance and calculated irreverence. All at once.
Photos: Marc Jacobs