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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New York Fashion Week: Marc Jacobs

Suleman Anaya...

Just when your blasé self thinks you're done with New York Fashion Week, that nothing can make you care anymore, Marc Jacobs manages to bring out that childlike excitement you felt at your first fashion show (for me, a Marc show sometime during the reign of Brazilian models). Granted, it's hard not to fall for the outsize pageantry, the hulking concrete carcass of the Armory and the surreal experience of brushing knees with airbrushed humans—allegedly real blood runs through them—with names like Lopez and Lakshmi. Then there's the music. Marc goes for grand tunes that would be corny coming from anyone else: Pachelbel's canon and Ravel's Bolero in recent seasons and, last night, the brassy swoon of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. But none of the over-the-top circumstances would matter if the clothes weren't strange, smart, new and, let's just say it, gorgeous. Again.

This season it appeared as if his imagination had gone to China and back by way of the Wild West, as prairie blouses with pagoda shoulders emerged on the runway on top of bustled skirts that looked like upside-down garbage bags, all brilliantly tied together like some oriental binding technique. (Said runway, by the way, was a clever maze of mirrors conceived by set designer and regular Marc collaborator Stefan Beckman.) All those wrapped layers, yards of lurex and silk in deep iridescent colors made me think of candy, or jewels—maybe candyjewels. Accessories, as usual, bordered on deranged; look for bathing caps on the streets of Tokyo come March. Bottom line is, for ten minutes, Marc had me in fashion nirvana. And in an instant, even the silly nicotine, gym-obsessed antics described in that recent New Yorker profile were forgiven. Marc is a genius, so let him be ridiculously muscled and pretend to be tacky if that's what makes him happy these days.

Once I regained my composure, I headed backstage with the adorable John Cameron Mitchell and his scrumptious buddy, film star Michael Pitt. I asked John, who knows a thing or two about gender-bending, which of the 53 looks he'd pick to crossdress in. He said he doesn't do drag anymore, but that he'd probably choose a billowy yellow and blue summer dress that both he and Pitt loved. Really? It made me think of a silly German animated series for kids called Biene Maya—or Maya the Bee. But John loved it because the colors were the same as the Swedish flag and because he likes "solids and geometry." Who knew the man who gave us the delicious riot of Hedwig is secretly a sucker for order? Pitt just nodded in tacit straight-guy (and tipsy) approval.

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