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At the close of New York Fashion Week, Marc Jacobs presented 54 slick looks in homage to legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland and her legendary Manhattan “garden of hell” sitting room designed by Billy Baldwin. Black-and-white tapestries printed with overblown reproductions of Jeremiah Goodman’s illustrations of the room were draped around the interiors of the Park Avenue Armory and illuminated in Vreeland’s favorite color, red. However, in Jacobs’s hands, Mrs. Vreeland’s rouge room took a darker twist akin to the inescapable Fifty Shades of Grey “Red Room.”
According to André Leon Talley, one of Vreeland’s protégés, “Mrs. Vreeland had a look! The hair was jet black, and the clothes and the shoes immaculate. She had her five dollar bills for taxis ironed, and the soles of her Roger Vivier boots polished! And the nails, like her living room,” he continued, “were lacquered red. She’d often apply matching rouge to her temples, and then ask, with a straight face and her booming voice, ‘Is it Kabuki enough?'”
It should come as no surprise Jacobs would cite Vreeland as a muse. He provided the foreword to the second edition of her best-selling book Allure. And Vreeland, after all, is best known for her exacting taste and grand pronouncements (of which there were many—take a look at her Why Don’t You? series, or her recently published Memos). She also single-handedly helped shaped fashion as we know it. From the splashy and irreverent editorial content, and over-produced, visceral, and thought-provoking imagery, to her ever-evolving career choices, relentless self-reinvention, and contradictory ideals, she’s as multilayered and complex as they come, the perfect Jacobs muse.
A taut army of Jacobs’s über-chic dominatrixes marched with militaristic flair to an eerie Clint Mansell and Kronos Quartet soundtrack, their dresses banded with rugby striped black bugle beads, or coats and full skirts in masculine tweeds speckled with sequins. Most of the looks were worn with patent leather knee-high boots, including a knockout cocktail dress, completely sheer, save for its faint floral jet embroidery at the neck and at the knee, seen on model Kinga Rajzak. Other standouts included an array of pink-hued coats, jackets, and New Look-esque suits worn by a quartet of stunning black models, their meticulous grouping near the show’s end another sign of Jacobs’ relentless quest for perfection. There were also languid evening dresses in intricate embroideries—some sparse, others full-impact, glittering head-to-toe. The Cruela de Vil looks with skunk stoles were especially appealing, if only for the great dichotomy of the animals’ association juxtaposed with its handsome stripes.
For more from NYFW Fall/Winter 2015, click here.