The Westwood-inspired collection made its debut on Jacobs’ Spring 2023 runway.
On Thursday, February 2, Marc Jacobs hosted a last-minute Ready-To-Wear Spring 2023 runway show in New York City. Jacobs made his much-anticipated return to the Park Avenue Armory after three years of staging a presentation at his usual venue, and of course, he made it worthwhile. Drawing inspiration from Jacobs’ heroes, the collection cited the late, inspirational designer and close friend of the house, Vivienne Westwood as its main influence, including a quote from Westwood that read, “Fashion makes life better, and I think it’s a lovely, generous thing to do for other people.” When the 81-year-old British fashion and punk icon passed away in December, Jacobs posted an emotional tribute on her personal Instagram, “heartbroken.”
This Marc Jacobs runway show – which anticipated the official start of New York Fashion Week by a week – demonstrated once again how this designer is a voracious consumer of fashion, art and music, as well as a lover of research without limits. Thus, on the catwalk paraded looks of special reference from Balenciaga to Rick Owens, through the universe signed by Miuccia Prada, to Yves Saint Laurent and Rei Kawakubo.
Backstage – Marc Jacobs Spring 2023
We know that disrupting the zeitgeist has always been a staple in Jacobs’ creative elements and design lexicon. With styling by Alastair McKimm, this season was no exception. Dressing a post-apocalyptic world, the runway starred a show of 45 dystopian-inspired looks. In an almost completely dark space, lit by bare spotlights, with only a row of chairs along the runway, violinist Jennifer Koh performed Philip Glass’ “Einstein on the Beach” as the soundtrack.
Seated in the front row, we could see guests and fashion lovers Sofia Coppola, Ashley Graham and Emily Ratajkowski, as well as downtown New York icons Debbie Harry, Debi Mazar and Anna Sui. Of course, we couldn’t miss the iconic Anna Wintour, who watched the show from the front row in folding chair seats.
Jacobs has demonstrated a strong emphasis on volume and structure, being one of his strengths by far, racking up the drama in his shows that, in recent years, have gone from closing the official New York Fashion Week calendar to going off schedule. Strong, slender creatures walked wrapped in globular draping, offset by the glamour of Mikimoto pearls and the grace of elongated leather gloves.
DIY-inspired jackets and tit tops paraded down the runway, paired with patchwork coats and quilted skirts, but it was the Westwood-inspired footwear that really made its mark. Exaggerated lace-up boots featured bold shades of green, pink and yellow, combined with an understated offering of black, khaki and white.
Throughout the show, punk references were reminiscent of Jacobs’ early work: spiky, dyed hairstyles. Utilitarian elements, such as cargo pants, seemed reused in close-fitting garments, while models wore pearl necklaces around their necks as a nod to Westwood. We also saw splashes of lemon yellow and magenta tones on billowing ruffles or choppy mullets capturing the rebellious attitude with couture execution. Here, the designer clearly decided to take a trip back to the vibrant punk streets of London’s Kings Road. Arms crossed casually echoed the straitjackets and bondage outfits of Westwood’s “SEX” era in the 1970s. The signature polka dots returned as a novelty this season, but this time enlarged and imposing. Architectural silhouettes and exaggerated proportions furthered Jacobs’ intentional deformation of traditional feminine forms.
The designer expressed emotionally in his show notes, “This was a toast to all our heroes of the past and the young heroes of the present.”