Marc Jacobs F/W 2016
Marc Jacobs F/W 2016

The theatre goes dark. A single bell tone rings, echoing across the open expanse. A single light shines along the back wall and in front of that light steps an elongated shadow. The tall figure moves to the center of the opening and makes its way down the center of the oval stage as the lights slowly comes up. A crocheted collar over a gray sweater over a black/gray print skirt with laser-cut lace along the hem.

And ten-inch platform boots.

This is a Marc Jacobs we’ve not seen since he left Louis Vuitton in 2013: Dark, brooding, extremely Gothic, and extremely over-sized. Everything in this collection is elongated as every last one of the models wore those huge platform boots which visually altered the proportions of the entire look. Hair was plastered to the skull. Foundations were light. Eyes were smoky and smudged with mime-like accents. Baby doll lips were a deep red, the color of blood after it’s been coagulating for a few minutes.

We’ve missed this Marc Jacobs. Well, some of us have. He has stepped well away from any mainstream aesthetic and instead created looks that make us rethink shape and size. So, we get bows larger than the ones Peter Copping used at Oscar de la Renta and ribbons that were over six feet long. Sweatshirts that look big enough to keep a family of four warm, leather coats that could cover a Volkswagon Beetle, a fur-trimmed biker jacket that might have just ridden up through the gates of Hades, and  a checkerboard cape that looked like something director Tim Burton might conjure for the Queen of Hearts.

And then, there was Gaga. The rumors were true, Lady Gaga, the singer known for her own outlandish costumes, walked in a two-toned gray checked overcoat with green fur on the sleeves over a yellow blouse tied at the neck with a very large bow and silver platform boots. The look was natural enough for what we expect from Gaga, but so strong was the theme that every model looked like a Gaga, causing more than a few people to whisper, “Is that her?” throughout the show.

How will all this play out on store shelves? Expect looks to be pared down a little bit, but not too much. Those platform boots are going to be a hot item and one will need appropriate-sized clothes to match. Even without the extra height, though, or the hair and makeup, the looks are dramatic, fun, and even a bit authoritative at times. Yes, there are a couple of daring pieces in the mix, but to some degree the whole collection dares one to wear it. One has to ask whether they have the attitude to pull off many of these looks. Even something as simple as a sweatshirt from this collection makes a loud statement.

True Marc Jacobs fans are going to love this collection. Those who don’t, are either scratching their heads or cowering in a corner because one can’t deny that a seven-foot model in a huge cape is a bit frightening to see. Thank you, Marc, New York Fashion Week needed that.

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