In a grand celebration of his eponymous brand’s 40th anniversary, Marc Jacobs once again proved his mastery of statement-making fashion. Known for his penchant for oversized and voluminous designs, Jacobs took a unique turn for his first runway show of 2024. Departing from the conventional realm of human clothing-wearers, the iconic designer opted to showcase his love for immense tailoring through the lens of whimsical paper dolls. This distinctive approach brought a playful and nostalgic elegance to the runway, highlighting his continued innovation and willingness to redefine the boundaries of fashion.
Showcasing a bold and avant-garde spectacle, Marc Jacobs transformed the bright and vacant expanse of Park Avenue Armory on the Upper East Side of Manhattan into a runway like no other. Models adorned with enormous, cartoon-like hair and eyelashes made a formidable procession down the catwalk. With stiff arms, locked knees, and blank expressions, the presentation transcended traditional fashion norms, turning the show into a living art installation that captivated the audience. Jacobs, true to form, continued to push boundaries and redefine the expectations of a fashion runway.
The New York native showcased his mastery in the art of fashion with a runway presentation that embraced the unconventional. The avant-garde spectacle unfolded with models flaunting outfits reminiscent of paper dolls, featuring tops with slightly too-long straps and skirts with gaping waistbands. Jacobs ingeniously captured the essence of dressing 3-D dolls in outfits not originally designed for them, adding a playful and nostalgic touch to high fashion. Each look celebrated the precision of design while whimsically nodding to the quirks of childhood play.
Jacobs transformed his models into living, overly made-up figurines, with an enchanting display of hair and makeup. The runway came alive with models sporting extra-long faux eyelashes and towering wigs reminiscent of The Supremes. Makeup artist Diane Kendal shared the creative process, revealing that they initially started with single lashes before doubling them up. This babes-in-toyland-glam beauty approach added an extra layer of fantasy to Jacobs’ dollhouse-inspired couture.
The designer took the runway by storm, presenting a versatile wardrobe fit for the modern doll—or person—navigating various occasions. The doll’s day kicks off with professional attire, choosing between a chic plaid long-sleeve collared dress or a stylish skirt-and-jacket suit. The ensemble is paired with a reimagined Venetia bag from the early 2000s, providing ample space for daily essentials, and adorned with a two-dimensional jewel-shaped brooch, adding a touch of sophistication.
¨Marc Jacobs’ runway spectacle unfolds as a whimsical journey through oversized silhouettes, capturing the essence of playfulness and elegance in a disorienting yet familiar exploration of the memorable and mundane.¨ – Charles Daniel McDonald
For dolls with a flair for the glamorous, the designer presented a bedazzled loungewear option through Heaven, the designer’s Gen Z-focused sub-label making its runway debut. Velour zip-up hoodies and coordinated underwear, reminiscent of Y2K aesthetics, are adorned with crystal embellishments, featuring the iconic two-headed bear logo and the distinctive “Heaven by Marc Jacobs” spelled out on the sweatshirt’s back. This collection effortlessly merges comfort with a touch of sparkling sophistication.
As the evening unfolds, Marc Jacobs’ doll is prepared for a glamorous night on the town. Long gowns adorned with glitzy multi-coloured jewels, gold three-dimensional jacquard mini dresses, and gigantic clutches that defy conventional sizes take centre stage. Adding a touch of playfulness, clown-like oxford shoes with ample toe space complete the ensemble. The night crescendos with silver, rose, and gold floor-length gowns, featuring oversized pailettes that capture and reflect every glimmering light in their presence. Jacobs’ doll is a vision of extravagance and opulence under the city lights.
Encased in a pristine, white, branded folder, Marc Jacobs’ show notes encapsulate the essence of the playfully hyperbolized collection: “By exploring the memorable and the mundane, we abstract and exaggerate with a disorienting familiarity in our desire to express something naïve and elegant.” The succinct words offer a glimpse into Jacobs’ artistic endeavor – where abstraction and exaggeration converge to create a whimsical, yet sophisticated, narrative in fashion.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Marc Jacobs