For years, Marc Jacobs had established himself as the showman of New York Fashion Week, staging elaborate runway shows where the sets are as intricate as the clothes. One season, there would be a post-apocalyptic beach; then, a big, pop-pink house; next, he might take you for a night at the theatre.
And while that was great for drumming up excitement and fascination from the fashion community, those dramatic swings weren't as useful for establishing a foothold in the retail market. Business at the brand was shaky — the week after Donald Trump was sworn into office in 2017, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault somewhat infamously said on a call that he was "more concerned about Marc Jacobs than the U.S. president" — and required some serious rethinking, a process detailed in a recent report by Lauren Sherman for Business of Fashion. Out went the over-the-top sets, but the collections remained packed, the staging dramatic.
Then the pandemic hit. The sparsity of pre-Covid-19 Marc Jacobs shows were nothing compared to that of his return to the runway for his Fall 2021 collection, his first after taking a quarantine-imposed break from the creative process. Showing off-calendar, he switched venues — from the Park Avenue Armory to the New York Public Library — and lined up a single row of metal folding chairs along a corridor. It was as simple as runways get. Then, he surprise-dropped his next collection via WeTransfer.
As it turns out, Jacobs doesn't need all that noise to make a statement. On Monday night, he set up his Fall 2022 runway in the exact same manner as the previous autumn show, presenting a collection that's very much a continuation of the ideas he established then.
Oversized shapes rule the day, whether they're chunky knits with extra-long sleeves knotted up around the chest or ground-sweeping maxi skirts. This season's take on the linked-disc motif are shrunken down versions chained together to make bikini tops and apron tunics, layered over mega-flared pants. There's something moving in the styling gestures noticeable as models walked away, whether it was the buttons on an aqua-blue jacket worn back-to-front, or a slightly-baggy sheer stocking clipped up under the slit of a skirt. Giant hoods obscured models' faces — many of which were altered by prosthetics to lend an alien-esque appearance or mimic a side-shaved haircut — in what felt like a protective manner. Similarly, there's an armor-like quality to the comically large tote bags. The platform Mary Jane has become something of a Jacobs staple, and they're omnipresent here in shades of black and white.
It's quite easy to see how these ideas will translate to retail with a few minor tweaks: Shrink the proportions on a blazer here, cut the pink acid-wash denim ball skirt back into a wearable pencil style. But Jacobs makes clear that ultimately, he will never sacrifice his creative vision, no matter how the industry changes. "Creativity is essential to living," he writes in his show notes, before closing with a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche: "We have art in order not to die of the truth."
See the complete Marc Jacobs Fall 2022 collection in the gallery below: