“Le Carrousel.” Perhaps the motif was chosen symbolically, referencing the circle of fashion, season after season; conversations that go round and round; rumors that swirl and the resultant PR spin. Whatever its origin, on Oct. 5 Marc Jacobs spun it into one spectacular joy ride for Louis Vuitton.
One could dissect for days. Talking pure fashion, Jacobs pulled another of his famous 180-degree shifts, from fall’s tight, sexy, fetishistic ride-the-elevators Night Porter brigade to a mood of confectionery girliness expressed via pretty colors, major volume and a run on broderie anglaise. Apart from pure fashion, there was talk of a huge price tag for the show, and an unconfirmed Sidney Toledano sighting. For his part, the night before the show Jacobs claimed to prefer “merry-go-round” to “carousel” “because I am so happy, and my life has been like a merry-go-round.” When told that sounded like a setup for an obvious question about his future, he just motioned to the surrounding clothes. And there were plenty.
Guests arriving for the show came into a circular space dominated by a wide white cylinder. This was raised to reveal all the pretty little carousel horses, 48 of them, each glistening white and supporting an exquisitely bedecked show pony of the model variety. The girls, each with cool, imperfect prom-night updos secured by single-strand tiaras, looked engagingly gentle even as they flaunted major fashion, challenging fashion, especially from a volume perspective, as proportions ranged from a little loose to really big, whether in shift dresses, party dresses, belled and A-line skirts, and some of the most remarkable coats you’ll ever see. Pastel powdered croc, anyone?
That was one of many materials that made this collection so special. Most important: the broderie anglaise, in countless motifs, from tiny dots to pinwheel-sized flowers, often shown under organza wraps. Jacobs used it for everything from coats to the most divine argyle sweater. On top of that, feathers floated from sequined frocks and tweed suits; big plastic flowers bloomed from dresses, leathers were whitewashed, flowered and studded.
The accessories, too, got the demonstrative light treatment: new basket bags; transparent voile Lockits; a plumped and softened Speedy. As for hardware, Jacobs banished the standard gold in favor of more girlish sterling silver (which also appeared as toe-tips on shoes).
It couldn’t have been lovelier, nor livelier in its embrace of fashion. Yet for Jacobs, luxe has a quiet side. He thus commissioned a minaudiere, a little oval no bigger than the length of your hand, in an old process called “coquille d’oeuf.” A bag made out of broken eggshells, 12,500 pieces to be exact. Jacobs called it “the most extraordinary thing we’ve ever done.” In a portfolio that includes the Sprouse, Prince and Murakami collaborations, as well as countless solo wonders, that’s quite a statement. Whether it’s a punctuation mark as well remains to be seen.