The New York Spring/Summer 2003 Collections: Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice...

by Marilyn Kirschner
with runway photography by Randy Brooke

(Above our top look of the season is by Marc Jacobs
click on image to enlarge)

Additional articles:Conversation with Suzy Menkes
Ten "Best Looks" of the Season

The Past Fall 2002 Report

Well okay - so maybe 'Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice' doesn't describe all the clothes that walked down the runways during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, but it certainly sums up the optimistic, light, upbeat, colorful, and frankly feminine mood that defined much of the season. And it also sums up the exuberant collection of Marc Jacobs, who mixed classic silhouettes, tempting colors, vintage Adolfo/Chanel inspired tweed coats and jackets with sexy, lingerie inspired dresses and separates, which infused it with a modern, eclectic, edgy feeling, and kept the whole thing from looking too literal or dowdy.

If you close your eyes and envision 'spring', chances are, every obvious or clichéd image that popped into your mind, was used throughout the collections - it's almost as if the designers wanted to return to a nostalgic time and place of lost innocence. If nothing else - they certainly seem to have made a conscious effort to put on a happy face this time around… quite frankly, it seems most of 7th Avenue is on Prozac. Or could this new mood be a predictable response to the faltering economy, and change in consumer spending habits?

After all, it's been fairly well documented that what the customer is not looking for or buying, are plain black, boring clothes - or any basics for that matter. What is selling, are 'items', 'feel good', 'must have' pieces that have an individual, novel, one of a kind appeal.