Marc Jacobs Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear

“I believe in living with authenticity—free from validation and permission of absurd conservatism and societal norms.” Marc Jacobs said he was after “joy, period” at his show tonight. It lasted all of six minutes—a short, sharp shock—but it made a big, big impression. I saw Marilyn Monroe in her iconic subway grate dress from The Seven Year Itch, Minnie Mouse in her red and white polka dots, and princess gowns out of a Disney classic. There were other references for other eyes, but there’s no debate that this was a collection full of main character energy. 

The future can feel like it’s closing in, with the far right gaining ground across Europe and the U.S., threatening reproductive freedoms, gay marriage, and other rights Jacobs holds dear. Reckoning with these issues can be heavy work; some may question if the runway is even the right medium. But it’s Jacobs’s chosen medium, and he’s developed a healthy knack for underscoring sticky current issues of late. What would the world look like if he was in charge? It’s a safe place for all kinds, but especially the oddballs who wear too-big shoes and clothes with cartoonish proportions, who prefer hyperbole to the understatement of quiet luxury. 

Jacobs, just for the record, is completely capable of quiet luxury; his fall 2010 collection, a personal favorite, stands as the sine qua non of that style. But that’s not what this moment calls for, a fact he seemed to underscore with a soundtrack featuring Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach, an opera about the anxieties of the information age, and, a little more unseriously, with his own nail art, which he keeps assiduous track of on his Instagram. Of his latest “out-of-control French manicure with pastel colors,” he told Hunter Abrams in Vogue, “there’s this joy I get from dressing up, accessorizing, and expressing myself; [nails are a] component in that kind of joyous puzzle.” 

On the runway: more puzzle pieces. It looked like a sequel to his spring 2024 blockbuster, only here the doll clothes motif had a Hollywood gloss: Marilyn and Minnie and all the rest. Either that or he was looking back at his own oeuvre and giving it an exaggerated spin (remember, he celebrated his brand’s 40th anniversary in February, an important milestone). A large-buttoned skirt suit familiar from his more understated era had a super-shrunken shape, while the hourglass of a lace dress was exaggerated, befitting an animated bombshell, and sweater sets and a-line skirts had the Plain Jane knocked right out of them in acid colors. There was even an itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie yellow polka dot bikini, only it wasn’t itsy-bitsy or teenie-weenie, but several sizes too big, like a doll in real girls’ clothes. 

The proportions played funny tricks on you as the models walked the New York Public Library’s impossibly long, narrow hallway, and a similar effect can be seen in these pictures: The miniskirts’ ultra-short lengths, and the arcing hemlines of knee-length skirts, especially when they were higher in front than in the back, made other models look like giants—protagonists if for no other reason that you couldn’t peel your eyes off of them. With his uncanny shapes, hyper colors, and crazy shoes, Jacobs tilted the world on its axis for the briefest of moments. “The future remains unwritten,” he wrote in his notes. Couldn’t we stop time in Marc Jacobs’s fairy tale and stay a while?

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