Somnambulant. adjective \säm-ˈnam-byə-lənt\ 

1:  walking or having the habit of walking while asleep
2:  resembling or having the characteristics of a sleepwalker

Someone  in my Twitter feed used that word just now to describe the Marc Jaobs spring/summer 2015 presentation. I was thinking surreal but somnambulant is really much more accurate.

Let me describe the setting for you. Think pink. Everything. The seats. The square runway. The open space in the middle of runway contained a pink house, with pink windows, a pink roof, and pink steps, and a fuzzy pink lawn. At each seat were a pair of Dr. Dre headphones. The soundtrack was a mixture of cello, spoken voice, and ambient sound.

Into this setting walked an army of models, each wearing a coal black wig with bangs that fell just below her eyebrows. IMG model Joan Smalls is the first to appear dressed in a dark, musty blue minimalist tunic dress belted at the middle. Honestly, I thought for a moment Marc might be setting us up for a prisoner of war story. The second look was similar, done in olive drab. Look number three took on a much more miltary look with oversized cargo pockets and very large and round brass buttons. Look close and see that this look is actually a one-piece. Tailoring at the waist gives the false appearance of a cropped jacket, but it’s not real. The legs come down about midcalf where the wide look covers black boots.

This is how Marc Jacobs sees next spring. Look after look develops along this very utilitarian theme. Dress and skirt lengths move up and down, some surprisingly short while many playing with the mid-calf look that has been so popular this season.

Looks don’t stay static. Starting with the ninth look, Jacobs adds three button-sized holes punched just above the left breast, right where a military officer would wear their medals and ribbons. Almost ten looks later, a single embroidered flower plays along the hem of a smock top.  Fabrics move from matte to shiny and the rounded “button” look becomes a decorative object used creatively in different ways on each garment. One knitted sweater may or may not have had sleeves; even looking at pictures after the fact I’m not sure.

Polka dots of various size and, let’s call those round things bubbles, dominate the second half of the looks giving them a much more heavily decorated appearance despite maintaining the same general tone and silhouettes of the early looks. In the middle are a handful of looks that are almost mainstream, with cutouts at the waist just like in other collections. Yet, even those still carry Jacob’s distinctive style.

Viewing the whole collection, as we did this evening, is a bit unsettling. Viewing the pieces individually is much more calm experience and makes it easier to appreciate just how appealing they are. The garments are roomy, sometimes excessively so. Waist lines generally run lower.  There might be a temptation to look at this as a casual collection, but the fabrics and stitching are much too nice for that. One will pay good money for these clothes, and deservedly so. This is a luxury line and it shows in the details.

While there aren’t a lot of accessories with this collection, what Marc did include were big hits before they even made it around the runway. Over sized bags are of sufficient size to, at least theoretically, carry a toddler. Whether carried in the hand or worn like a backpack, these will sail off store shelves. Then, there’s the shoes. While a few looks were given black boots, and I might have seen a few low heels, most the looks were given a therapeutic sandal similar to that made popular by Dr. Scholl’s, except done in crushed velvet. Comfort definitely rules the day.

Oh, and if you see someone claiming Marc sent his models down the runway with no makeup, feel free to call them out. Makeup was done by the NARS Cosmetics team out of their flagship store in New York. Yes, they wore makeup. So there.

We expect something different, something more advanced from Marc Jacobs and once again he delivered in a strong and powerful way, wrapping up this season of New York Fashion Week in spectacular fashion.

Now, everyone run for the airport. London Fashion Week starts in nine hours. See you there!

Photo credit: Gianni Pucci

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