So, Spring 2014 was to be Marc Jacobs' Swan Song for Louis Vuitton? More Like Black Swan Song if one took into account the Ravishing Finale to Jacobs' 16 year tenure at LV! It was Bittersweet and Nostalgic but not in a wistful way, No, Marc is far too perversely Minded to do anything so emotionally blackmailing as a tearful fare thee well! His Nostalgia was at once looking back but only to guide him in looking ahead! The collection he presented was so Piquantly Vibrant (Even with all the Black) as to be Celebratory, Not Mournful! Also, Leave it to Jacobs Subversive Proclivities to make even the Celebratory something Tim Burton-Esque, tinged with Dark romance and Burlesque worthy showmanship!
The Set was one of Unabashed Spectacle, pieced together, like some Virtuoso Pastiche of the showpieces of Bygone shows, The Carousel and Fountain were front and center as well as the Elevators and Escalators and the Hotel rooms of just the past season. But perhaps the most telling piece was the Giant clock from one of the most Memorable of Jacobs' Fantastical Set Pieces, The Clock that Announced his "Vuitton Express" Collection with the custom built train car (A Play one must actually acquiesce to Galliano and his FANTASMAGORIA Dior Haute Couture show entitled "Diorient Express") The clock which Struck SUPER Promptly at 10:00 am (Paris time) and the show started on the stroke of 10, begin to unwind, counting time backwards and was another poke at his legacy at Vuitton. Counting Back all his past glories and smushing them all together into one cacophonic orgy of ideas.
If Marc didn't get the point across that this was a semi-self indulgent moment of Flashback with the set, he obviously was throwing subtle out the Goddamn Window with his opening outfit, Edie Campbell, Barefoot, striding across figurative MILES of Black Mongolian Lamb carpeting as thick and plush as Wedding Cake icing, covered top to bottom with the now Infamous/Famous Stephen Sprouse collaboration Louis lettering scrawled over her naked flesh and highlighted with bits of sequins, wearing nothing more than a Bespangled G-String and a Towering Stephen Jones Ostrich Feather Showgirl Headpiece. Oh, Yeah... Handcuffs Too!
How to explain all the Bedazzling Outfits and LAVISH Opulence being thrown around is daunting. There was a Fun play on Denim, mainly in the sense that it was worn over scandalously sheer evening dresses encrusted with Jet Beading and Embroidery and Lace and Ruffles or the Faintly Edwardian touch to many of the floor length gowns that assailed the runway (Again, another Sly Self-Referential Trope owing that his own Eponymous collection was Highly Edwardian influenced this season!) The Gothic Richness of this collection was given relief by the Denim and a 20's Flapper style (Edwardian, Flapper, Gothic... Jacobs' ran the entire gamut) and the modern attitude of Biker Jackets and Patchwork jeans as well as Utilitarian Jackets richly encrusted with Jet and Lace and Feathers... Marc seemed as if his antennae was attuned to everything and anything including the work of Christian Lacroix (another Self Reference owing that there was a Definite Lacroix Vibe to his own namesake collection)
In the end, it was hard to feel sad about this excursion into the Past, for it felt totally of the future. Jacobs could hardly be faulted for wanting to focus on his own label and after 16 blockbuster years at Vuitton, His Mark (Pun, Anyone?) will surely be of the Indelible type. He catapulted Louis Vuitton from a Stodgy, yet profitable Billion dollar name into the Covetous MULTI Billion dollar company it is now that for recognition in the world may only have as it's rival Chanel.
Before I End, That Chanel Business is something I feel must be addressed. Jacobs in his last few years at Vuitton has shown that in terms of thinking BIG and controlling the Image of the house that he is in fact the ONLY man in fashion that could be considered taking over Chanel if ever the Kaiser Karl decides to retire (Not Bloody Likely) or WHEN Karl decided to Pass on, for he surely isn't going to shuffle off this Mortal Coil til he's good and damned ready! But, Yes, Jacobs has shown, NUMEROUS times that he has the Facility and Understanding of Extreme Elaborateness and The Hand at Cut and Fit to Do both Couture and Deluxe RTW and also with his Show Set Pieces that he could Out-Think and Rival The Great Karl for Spectacle and Sheer Gasp Inducing Drama! He could Be The Future of Chanel... and despite what he might say in the way of that he doesn't know what goes on in other fashion houses, DON'T BE FOOLED FOR ONE IOTA that Uncle Karl isn't aware of this same fact. Karl Sees and Knows ALL, And as Self-Aware as he is, Even HE Couldn't flatly argue that Jacobs wouldn't fill the position handily!
No one truly believed that when he was hired to fill the role of Designer at Louis Vuitton that Marc Jacobs, 16 years hence, would be the World Revered Luminary that he has become. It was an Impossible dream, One that only true Dreamers like Jacobs' Himself can bring to fruition. It's been a Wild and Beautiful Ride. What ever the next step is at Vuitton, What Jacobs' managed to do can never be overshadowed or underestimated. His Legacy will last a Lifetime.
In the Immortal words of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, "So Long, Farewell..."
And Most Importantly,
Thank You, Marc Jacobs!