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Marc Jacobs’ Big Top

Godfrey Deeny
September 15th, 2009 @ 00:52 AM - New York

All the world is circus, or at least it is in Marc Jacob’s universe these days. Pale faced clowns, modernist Geisha gals, Fellini femme fatales and a saucy high wire troupe all appeared in his latest collection, presented Monday evening in Manhattan.

Unveiled before an audience that included Madonna – a dramatic last minute arrival with her boyfriend Jesus Luz - and Lady Gaga, whose music was the soundtrack of the show; the collection was theatrical, absurdist yet frequently very beautiful.

Practically none of the models in this show could have realistically walked out of the Downtown Armory where show was staged and out onto Madison Avenue, so affected and over-the-top was the styling. Bee-stung lips, Noh theater makeup and shark fin black eye shadow are hardly suitable for a day’s work or a cool date.

Huge joker pants large enough to look at home in the Hindu Kush, frock coats for a Jacobean comedy and mini tutus were not easy street-wear. And if there was a defining detail in this spring 2010 collection it was the ruffle, shown in style plisse tops, shell like chiffon dresses or Baron Munchausen plant women looks – generally finished with miniature pearls.

This past few years, Jacobs’ design team has been one of the best sources in North America of inventive footwear and this collection was no exception. His geisha block shoe meets flip flop will spark a huge trend, as will his trapeze artists sandals.

“Fashion is not a necessity, it’s a desire. You do not need fashion it has to inspire you,” Jacobs said post show in the giant space, done in all white for the event.

That’s not to say there were no plausible clothes in this show. Far from it. Either the bubbly skirts with satin panels cut six inches below the knee or semi-sheer leggings or big collared car coats all had a certain art aplomb, which will thrill loyal Jacob followers.

But, compared with Jacobs’ last outing, a hard silhouette homage to the Eighties in his show of February, this was a stage show, not a catwalk event.

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