Taster’s Choice

Marc Jacobs’ spring 2016 show, held at the Ziegfield Theatre, was a perfect way to end New York Fashion Week. You know how many of us have been talking about how fashion isn’t fun anymore? Well, Marc Jacobs is apparently ready to have some fun. Leave it to him to put the fun back not only in the presentation, but in the clothes. It was a hold no bars, out there theatrical production that had to make one smile  (it was not without its drama: the clothes reportedly arrived 15 minutes before the show, but it still got off on time: 6 pm).

Evening dress printed with the face of Janet Leigh in Psycho

Filled with a dizzying variety of looks, lengths, proportions, it was chock a block with joyous ebullient color, shine, embellishment, zany pattern (like Ralph, Marc used quite a bit of red, white, and blue, but I can attest to the fact that that is where the comparison ends!). Best of all, if there was one theme, it was that it made a case for not playing it safe, and rejecting quiet, pared down minimalism, and it made a strong case for freewheeling maximalism. (Of course, the great thing about Marc, is that it goes without saying that by next season, he will be going in the completely opposite direction!)

Marc goes western

The best way to describe it is like this: think of the most discordant, sparkly, colorful, embellished pieces one could imagine, and then put them together in the most personal, expressive, irreverent way possible, without any rhyme or reason. Quite frankly, many of the outfits looked as though Marc gave the models a group of clothes, directed them to wear them as they would like (after making sure they had too much to drink). His inclusion of singer Beth Ditto in the lineup also spoke volumes about his desire to be inclusive and challenge traditional ideas of beauty.

The outcome often bordered on ‘bad taste’ (which is great because I think good taste is highly overrated myself). Come to think of it, Marc was really echoing Diana Vreeland’s notion that “Bad taste is better than no taste” so I guess you can say he is still feeling Diana Vreeland’s influence (he cited the icon as inspiration for his fall 2015 collection).

Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch

Dr. Valerie Steele and Susanne Bartsch
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner
(click images for larger views)

Speaking of good taste vs. bad taste, it could not have been more appropriate that the opening of the exhibit, “Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch” (a fabulous display of bad taste if ever there was one lol), followed Marc’s show. All I could say is: what a party, what a scene, and what an appropriately spirited way to put an exclamation mark on fashion week!

Norma  Kamali, Calvin Klein, Susanne Bartsch

Hundreds of people, including designers Calvin Klein, Norma Kamali, and Stephen Jones, packed into the Museum at FIT in celebration of the amazing new exhibition which runs through December 5th. Talk about eye candy; I didn’t know where to look first. Not that this was any surprise given the subject (the Swiss born icon, fashion influencer, trailblazer, rule breaker, retailer, event planner, aids fundraiser). Quite frankly, it made the “Daphne Guinness” exhibition, which ran from September 16, 2011 – January 7, 2012, look tame by comparison.

Colorful guests
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Susanne did not become known as the “Queen of New York City Nightlife” back in the 80’s for nothing. Her first party, which took place at a club near the Chelsea Hotel (where she has lived for many years), drew a diverse and colorful mix of dressed to the nines individuals as had never been seen before (uptown, downtown, gay, straight, multiracial), and from the look of things, many showed up last night. Susanne and her friends (and followers) have long viewed fashion as a performance art; the ultimate form of self-expression. As she once said, “It was about seeing and being seen”.  Indeed.

Photo: Laurel Marcus

It was one of those exhibition openings where the guests rivaled the actual exhibition. Well, almost, because quite frankly, it would be almost impossible to outdo the dazzling 80 ensembles on display, culled from this fashion chameleon’s personal collection of clothing and accessories. It included all manner of designs by such as The Blonds, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler, Rick Owens, Vivienne Westwood, Norma Kamali, and Zaldy.

Mr. Pearls’ corsets
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

If there was a theme, or one thing that held it all together, it was that it was all provocative, in your face, over the top, and out there. When I asked Dr. Valerie Steele, who curated the exhibition what her favorite pieces were, she quickly said, “Mr. Pearls’ corsets”. As for Susanne’s?  Zaldy’s designs. It was impossible to look around the room and not wonder where Susanne kept all these clothes. Dr. Steele confirmed that in addition to her Chelsea Hotel apartment (which is just a few blocks from the Museum at FIT), they were stored in a warehouse.

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.