Some highlights of New York Fashion Week on Wednesday:
MARC JACOBS IS THINKING BIG
"Huge flourishes, gestures, broad strokes," Marc Jacobs wrote in the brief printed notes waiting on the seats at his runway show.
He sure meant it.
The designer, again proving himself one of fashion's most enduring showmen, closed out Fashion Week with an exhilarating jolt, with a show that was big in every way: big shapes, big colors, big hats, big thoughts.
The collection began with a series of oversized coats in bold colors: bright red, pink, turquoise. The coats included huge scarves wrapped around the neck, and were paired with big (that word again) wide-brimmed hats in black. The show moved on to large sweaters with exaggerated shoulders — think shoulder pads on steroids — and more scarves in increasingly inventive shapes, some with ruffles that traveled up over the face.
There were wide leather gaucho-style pants and roomy, shiny trenchcoats and big sashes shaped like roses. Or as the show notes aptly described it: "Extravagant neck, waist and hip flourishes." There were skirts and dresses too, also riffing on the exaggerated silhouettes, but with a more delicate feel — as in a stunning pink-and-black floral number with one ruffled sleeve and a huge black sash.
Then there was the hair. A number of models — those who weren't covered in hats — had allowed Jacobs' beauty team to give them blunt, geometric haircuts, then to color their hair in luminous shades of green, red, purple or blue, to meld perfectly with their outfits.
The show took place, as is Jacobs' custom, in the cavernous Park Avenue Armory, this time with no set or adornment, just rows of chairs facing each other — two rows deep on each side — and an almost totally darkened room. The darkness — and music with an ecclesiastical feel — added to the sense of high drama.
After the show, while a gaggle of protesters outside held signs and chanted about Jacobs' use of fur, guests Cardi B and Lil Kim posed glamorously inside for fans and photographers. At one point a policeman came in and tried to get Cardi B's attention; the singer had apparently dropped her driver's license on the ground outside. He handed it back with a smile, and then she went on posing.
MICHAEL KORS: A THEATER-THEMED COLLECTION FOR THE 'SWIPE ERA'
Michael Kors is a known theater geek, and he channeled that enthusiasm in a fashion show that featured show tunes on the soundtrack and Playbill-style programs on the seats.
There was a theatricality to the fashions, too, and you could call it an "Anything Goes" vibe: Fancy with casual, plaid with lace, even shower slides for evening. The very first ensemble on the runway mixed tartan, floral and animal print.
That same spirit was present in the soundtrack, which included brief snippets of so many songs from so many eras, one could be forgiven for seeing one's life pass before one's eyes. "My Fair Lady" and "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music" were represented, but so was TV's "Sex and the City" and classical ballet's "Swan Lake." Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" morphed into Petula Clark's "Downtown" of two decades earlier. There were also snippets from "The Graduate," ''The Hamilton Mixtape," and, at the end, Julie Andrews singing "My Favorite Things."
Backstage, Kors explained the show's vibe as "like a Fellini film or an Almodovar film where you've got all these characters and these people who float through my head." For starters, he mentioned Margot Tenenbaum (Gwyneth Paltrow's character in "The Royal Tenenbaums,") Solange Knowles, Zendaya, Blake Lively, and Ryan Gosling — people whose personal style he admired.
"We're living in the swipe era," Kors explained. "So there's not one way to look, there's not one way to present yourself. You can wear shower slides at night. You can wear stiletto, leopard, a slip for day. We don't pay attention to the seasons anymore. It's really just how do you express yourself with fashion."
Zendaya and Lively were just two of the many celebrities attending Kors' show on Wednesday; they were joined in the front row by actress Emily Blunt. All were dressed by Kors, of course, Lively in a bright red patent leather coat, Blunt in a striped T-shirt and rose-patterned satin skirt, and Zendaya in a track jacket and joggers, under a wool trench.
Kors noted that it was Valentine's Day, and called the show "a valentine to men and women who understand the joy of getting dressed, and love fashion and personal style and iconic New York. As for the theater theme, he quipped: "This is as close as you'll get to Michael Kors on Broadway."