This season, Marc Jacobs set the stage with a checkerboard floor, waitresses in maid uniforms and four gilded elevators complete with bellboys. To an evocative and cinematic soundtrack, one elevator at a time, he sent up a line-up of girls that included everyone from newbies Arizona Muse and Ruby Aldridge to more seasoned girls, such as Carolyn Murphy, Stella Tennant, Amber Valletta and Naomi Campbell. If that wasn’t enough, he closed the show with none other than Kate Moss, puffing on a cigarette as she nonchalantly strutted the runway.
Dressed as bellboys, drivers, chamber maids and even a governess or two, the girls acted as characters in a high-end hotel, say, Claridges. Having spent considerable time at hotels, Jacobs was particularly inspired by the people who work in them and those who pass through day and night, from the house staff to the prostitutes and everyone in between. As such, the clothes were variations on the uniform, complete with caps and driving gloves, crisp white blouses, and jodhpurs or jackets. Dresses had the customary white peter-pan collar, but there were more fetishistic versions of jacket-only ensembles and laser-cut leather lace bodysuits. Often tops were worn with little more than stockings and shoes, while coats were multi-buttoned, uniform-style, or were in the shiniest of patent leather. Colors were dark, ranging from gray and black to maroon and a deep or navy blue.
One couldn’t help but think of The Night Porter, the 70s film classic starring Charlotte Rampling as a concentration camp inmate who has an illicit S&M affair with one of her prison guards and meets up with him again years later—in a hotel. This subversion was most clearly seen in the fetishistic cuts, strict ponytails, chin-strapped hats reminiscent of German officers and some girls who were handcuffed to their purses.