[I] slept cozy and comfortable in my bed in India, as Marc Jacobs defined glamour, chic and comfort yesterday in New York. And even as I woke up, I was unaware that I missed a fashion moment. It was not until a dear friend of mine, not related to a fashion profession, informed me that Marc Jacobs sent a topless model down the runway. It was in the papers here, so it must have meant something I suppose.
I perused from window to window in my browser to inform myself on what the industry was saying about it. Turned out they only cared about who it was – Lily McMenamy, the daughter of supermodel Kristen McMenamy, and how already it was her most memorable walk yet. She is only 18 by the way and this was her third runway show, and she is already the most social media’ed model from yesterday – the closing of NYFW.
I also read all the reviews at WWD, style.com, Fashion Bomb Daily, Vogue, Fashionolgie. But not one critic mentioned the topless model. They only ventured deep within the moods of the show. The walking of the runway twice by all the models, once in the sepia light of a giant sun and second time in normal light, was the highlight of their reviews. Yes they did talk about the glamour, the pyjamas the rich but classic textures, all those sequins which I noticed and loved too at first sight. But my friend did not bother about those clothes or the Olafur Eliasson’s “The Weather Project” inspired sun or how Hurricane Sandy had a hand in the collection. He wondered and asked why the ‘no top’ look? I was silent because I did not have a ready plausible answer. But thinking and reading through the day I reached an open ended question. After all it is tough, at least for me right now, to explain sanely why fashion is the way it is to a person not from the field. And majority of the world is just not, even though they are impacted by it each day.
Now that you are here, and reading this article, you must have noticed the feature image for this one on the home page. It really made you click on it didn’t it? In all my honesty that was the whole purpose really. This is not a majorly famous blog. Actually who am I kidding, I only have a two digit number page hits and readers each day. But still I felt the need to engage those few. For a famous blog/ designer or any one else, the pressure of engagement must be countless times more.
Now put Marc Jacobs in the picture, the one who is a revered talent and legend in the industry. When he was freshly appointed the creative head of Louis Vuitton in 1997 (yes that long time ago!), the pressure on him increased and he spiraled into heavy drug abuse. He recovered, but I wonder what the pressure is like, right now. Each season his visions are looked forward to and his shows are often termed the biggest. In the past, he has staged a show sending looks in the reverse order (Spring 2008), has sent Kate Moss smoking on the runway (Louis Vuitton Fall 2011), used a marching band for his show (Spring 2006) and again for LV last season ( Spring 2013) used escalators as an entry to the runway for models and a very vivid twin imagery. So I hope by this you get and idea of the grandiose feeling that is expected from Marc Jacobs. It is a different grandiose than Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, but a very own grandiose nonetheless.
The set with the sun and the model too, giving NYFW its moment this season, was part of that very magnificence that has become Marc Jacobs. It is rooted in creativity but made him the talk of the town ( and twitter and Facebook and instagram) too, so much so that a regular person even unaware of the commencement of NYFW knew what he had done. Quite a feat! Even if it was a late one, as the show was postponed from Monday night to Thursday.
But then again, being partial to his talents as I am, I can not gulp down the fact that it was a mere stunt. As I delved further, the famous Victoria Beckham 2008 ad, with only her legs and the ‘upside down’ pumps showing through a Marc Jacobs shopping bag, came into the picture. Shot by Juergen Teller, as many Marc Jacobs ads are, Victoria was told “And fashion nowadays is all about product — bags and shoes — and you’re kind of a product yourself, aren’t you?’ She was, like, ‘Uh, yeah.’ ” In a video for German Interview talking about the collaboration over a book with Cindy Sherman and Juergen, with the advertisements bearing MARC JACOBS name on it he reveals “We didn’t sell anything, nobody would look at those ads and say I want to look like that, no one would not run to the store to buy the dress, the sweater, the shoes or anything, because of the way these people looked”. Ditto feeling for the ad campaign which had Juergen hugging Charlotte Rampling in bed in his silver shorts.
To me it sends out a message or understanding rather, that Marc Jacobs is not always looking to sell clothes. He is a man who believes in imagery too, beyond the obvious products. Marc Jacobs is sort of a club, you have to be in to understand it. Faith at Fashion Bomb Daily noted in her review “There’s no way to deny the easy glamour of the season’s pieces, which appear as if a socialite just rolled out of bed”. Did she actually get it right in one sentence? Lily McMenamy actually personified the aesthetic sentiment of a coveted chic diva rolling out of bed in here last night’s clothes after partying dizzy? With his Look number 21, did Marc Jacobs only mean to put that “creative vision” out there. Since obviously, there was nothing to sell in that look as such in real world terms.
I rest my case, but ask you the question….. was is it just a stunt or a creative vision indeed?