Fashion Week

Marc Jacobs Has Fun with His Quirky Maximalism for Spring 2020

The designer has been embracing over-the-top color and structure the past few seasons, and in his latest New York Fashion Week finale, he finally let a bit loose.
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Marc Jacobs has been on quite the maximalist streak. The designer has always been a bit over-the-top when staging veritable runway attractions, from Lady Gaga cameos to a theatrical romp through the Ziegfeld, but in fall 2018 he took a turn for the truly extreme with headline-making hair transformations (think drastic cuts and pastel dye) and fantastical creations that take a couture-like approach of eclecticism. The result has been collections that go viral the moment they debut and become in high demand for shoots in following months (looking at you, look 28 from Spring 2019), but while the news value has been great, whether this new vision has a marketable place was a bit questionable.

The designs have been so fun to watch, but there was one glaring element: Jacobs still shows in ready-to-wear and has an inseparable connection to New York. So while the intricate, artistic creations contribute something unique to modern fashion and are great for the red carpet, the designer needed to cater a bit more to the modern fashion person on the go, a mission he's been slowly but surely pursuing. This started with bringing back a contemporary line, rebranding from the aughts-era Marc by Marc to The Marc Jacobs, and his latest show also seems to embrace a degree of wearability. Gigi Hadid was part of a select group wearing playful minidresses—maybe '60s mod is next to return on the nostalgia carousel—and a sizable group of models walked in tailored looks that showed off the wildest patterns but are completely practical in silhouette.

Don't get the above statement wrong: Jacobs is still using a couture approach when it comes to many looks, and the collection had its fair share of spectacular, floral-inspired gowns, larger-than-life ruffles, and headwear that beckons for attention with its color and size. But a major difference was that rather than solemnly strutting down a traditional runway in the dark, the models were having fun again in the creative presentation strategy. It was a backward show of sorts, with the entire cast walking across the room at once before reemerging one at a time so audience members could then focus on the details, and everyone was smiling, posing, and embracing the performance of it all. The runway spins that are back this season definitely made an appearance, and models would acknowledge the cameras through a joyous face or a tip of a hat. Even Jacobs, who emerged to take his bow in major platform shoes, seemed to have let loose in a show that seemed to find the vibrant energy his almost-otherworldly designs needed. It was a fitting cap to a New York Fashion Week that seemed to embrace fun, spectacle, and turning runway romps into full-blown events, and a friendly reminder that despite the high-pressure industry, sharp criticism, and constant debates, fashion is really about enjoying the fantasy.

See images from the collection below.

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