Marc Jacobs Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Flappers. Cowgirls. Industrial factory workers. They all came down Marc Jacobs’ stunningly constructed Edison bulb lit saloon runway at the Lexington Armory. If Jacobs has a knack for one thing in this industry, it’s showmanship. He’s one of the few designers who truly knows how to put on a show and his vision is always holistically considered. With Philip Glass’ 70s opera ‘Einstein on the Beach’ serving as runway music – it was hard to get the show’s pace, and the tune, out of your head once the gold lame curtain closed.

The models were perched on wooden chairs at the end of the runway, some looking like broken dolls, others like come-hither vixens. The intricately sliced rivets of fringe on the flapper-like dresses under sports cut jackets immediately recalled Prada’s fall collection, even a bit of Prada’s spring 2010 as well. Jacobs is an admitted Prada junkie, but this was a tad over-the-top referential. It was hard to shake the comparisons. Sporting working men’s button-up collar shirts and 50s style bandanas on their do’s, his girls looked like a modern versions of Rosie the Riveter – the archetypal American feminist. Jacobs seemed to rework the Rosie slogan “We Can Do It” when Jourdan Dunn walked out in a blue rolled up sleeve collar shirt with a completely transparent cellophane-type dress thrown on top, above the knee socks finishing it off. Walk out the house like that? Yeah, she can do it.

Other notable looks included the dropped-waist fringe flapper dresses and the gorgeous gingham frocks that shone with a metallic gloss. As for those newly interpreted cowboy boots – they’ll surely be street-style fodder come spring as well. Many of the skirts also came in erratically arranged gatherings that almost played like peplums. They were strange, bizarre even, but they were fun nonetheless. Still, Jacobs has done much better than this before. Did it haunt the mind the way his 70s fashion-in-the-round extravaganza from last spring did, or his polka-dotted explosion from last season? Not even close. But this is still Marc Jacobs, and a slight misfire from him is still more than good enough for most of us.