As guests were ushered into New York’s Park Avenue Armory, they were given strict instructions not to take any photographs during Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2017 runway. Inside, attendees were met with two single rows of chairs running the length of the venue, with nary a single bell or whistle in sight. It was immediately clear that this would not be a typical over-the-top Marc Jacobs production. Guests were still mid-conversation when unexpectedly, with zero fanfare, the first model appeared and began walking down the runway. The show had begun.
Citing the documentary “Hip-Hop Evolution” as the source of his inspiration, Jacobs designed a collection that addressed a deeply personal and carefully considered interest in early hip-hop music and culture. The clothes look as though they could have been lifted directly from street style photographs of b-boys in 1980s New York. Tracksuits, oversized shearling coats, baggy pants, and clunky shoes were all adopted from the lexicon of hip-hop style. Hats referenced the Kangols that were ubiquitous during the early days of rap, and models were styled with big, bold chunky jewelry; including Urs Fischer-designed sculpted mice that dangled from heavy gold chains.
As the show came to a close, models appeared to march directly out onto the sidewalk rather than making the traditional final walk-through, and Jacobs himself trailed behind to tremendous applause. Guests were instructed to follow the designer outside. The total quiet of the runway was replaced on the sidewalk, where the models had posed in front of a colossal wall of speakers blasting singer Isaac Hayes’ 1968 classic, “Walk On By.” There it was, that classic Marc Jacobs production value, reminding everyone within listening distance — surely a three-block radius — why he is considered the maestro of American design, concluding New York Fashion Week in, of course, the most spectacular fashion.
By Anthony Palliparambil
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