It was just last season that Marc Jacobs shook up the typical runway show format by flooding models out onto the floor of the Park Avenue Armory in a pack, before sending them bobbing and weaving between editors seated in individually placed chairs. That Spring 2020 collection was full of nostalgic references to some of Jacobs’s personal favorite cultural touchstones and professional heroes — a mashup of ruffles and florals and denim and lace and top hats and tweed.
Never one to do the same thing twice, Jacobs revisited some of those themes for Fall 2020, but spun them in different ways. The runway was once again interactive, with dozens of dancers performing a choreography by Karole Armitage, all while wearing Marc Jacobs. They ran at each other from opposite ends of the stage, contorted their bodies and punched into the air, dragged each other past the models and eventually wove through the audience, who were seated in small groups at intimate wooden cafe tables.
“The contrast of her abrupt, fierce and sometimes violent articulations with the restraint and structure of this collection is, for me, the essence of ‘Drastic-Classicism’ (the title to one of her signature works from 1981),” the show notes read. “Karole’s choreography brings the culture influences of today into conversation with a past New York I will forever love, not for longing of time passed, but for moments that are timeless in reference.”
In the midst of all this chaos stomped the models (including Miley Cyrus), in no particular order and with no particular sense of care for the people seated to see the clothes. It felt like we were intruders, bystanders at a sidewalk cafe interrupting their day. But of course, this being a fashion show, the clothes carried a message too: Nostalgia was once again top of mind for Jacobs, with the designer noting, “Referencing my own life and career thus far, it is the fading picture of a disappearing New York that prevails — now foreign and exotic in its extinction, forever mythical and chic with tis beauty, promise, sparkle and grit.”
Where nostalgia lead this season was down a much more simple path, emphasizing “restraint, quality of fabrics, make and proportion.” There were saturated pastel minidresses with matching coats, ladylike dresses with sky-high Mary Jane heels, leather pencil skirts and Peter Pan collars, tailored shorts suiting and high-waisted wool briefs. It was possible, even as fast as the models zipped past, to pick up nods to Marc Jacobs collections past — indeed, much of it could have been mined directly from his archives, were it not for the modern twists on items like sparkling cocktail dresses and mohair skirt suits.
By keeping the color palette grounded in neutrals — lots of blacks, grays and camels here, occasionally shot with brights there — Jacobs was able to deliver a dense collection with a common through-line. It was as dreamy and elevated a selection as he’s offered in recent seasons. And considering the strength of what he has been doing over the past few years, that’s saying something.
See the complete Marc Jacobs Fall 2020 collection here: