Marc Jacobs finds his Nietzsche at the NY Public Library

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NEW YORK — Not every designer can successfully frame a fashion show around a quote from Nietzsche. But Marc Jacobs has always had an inordinate flair for drama.

“We have art so as not to die of truth,” the German philosopher once said, a line Jacobs chose to emphasize in his program notes for Monday night’s parade in the Great Hall. entrance to the New York Public Library on Manhattan’s Fifth Street.

In case there was any doubt that Jacobs was referring to turbulent developments in the outside world, he also spoke of making and sharing his creative choices “in contrast to the continuing brutality and ugliness of a world beyond.” beyond our insulated but not impermeable walls”.

Jacobs’ show in the marble hall of the famous library took place exactly one year after his previous show in the same venue. This show, also held in the summer and not during Fashion Week, was the first in-person show since the pandemic shut things down for a few seasons, and was meant to send an emphatic message that New York was back. It would have been difficult at the time to imagine that a year later the pandemic would by no means be over.

But New York is buzzing nonetheless, and so is Jacobs’ track. Like last year, there was a futuristic touch to his designs, with oversized proportions, shiny materials, whimsical shapes and lots of color.

Models wearing white platform boots sported sparkly looks like a shimmering dress in cobalt blue with a matching scarf tied around the neck. This set and others were accompanied by elbow-length gloves. Oddly enough, there were high-end surgical scrubs, like a lavender ensemble with drawstring pants and those long gloves, seemingly ready for the operating room.

The bright blue or pink sweaters were huge and bulky, with giant sleeves slung around the waist or over the shoulders, bulky enough to hide another human. Puffy clothes quickly gave way to more stripped-back ensembles like a long pink skirt with a tiny sequin bikini top.

A striking look was a metallic tunic that resembled chain mail, paired with elbow-length black gloves and a neckerchief of the same material. Then came the fanciest stuff: long green or purple skirts with shiny oversized puff sleeves and a dramatic, puffy dress in neon green.

Jacobs was clearly having fun with materials and shapes, and indeed he listed them in his show notes. Next to a column titled “Humans” (that would be the models, a list that included sisters Hadid, Bella and Gigi), he revealed his materials – canvas, denim, foil, glass, leather, paint, paper, plaster (!), plastic, rubber and vinyl. Shapes included bikinis, blazers, cardigans, cargo pants — and scrubs, among others.

The dominant theme seemed to be expressed in the show’s title: “Choice”, and even more so, creativity. “My feeling is unwavering,” the designer wrote. “Creativity is essential to life.”

About Victoria Rothstein

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