>> When I saw Marc Jacob's SS13 show last season, the first thing I thought was "How brilliant - I have an excuse to watch Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo? again for SS13 inspiration!" followed by the second thing, which was "This is going to be copied to death everywhere." Sure enough, a Saturday gander around the shops and a flick through all the high street look books sees vertical monochrome stripes everywhere. You could almost see the trend forecasters and mass fashion design teams rubbing their heands in glee at the prospect of such a direct hit of a trend to reintepret. Furthermore, Marc Jacobs completed this graphic statement, going from stripes to checks to round off the season. His show for Louis Vuitton had complimentary "twins" cascading down an escalator in matchy-matchy checkerboard outfits, to the soundtrack of a hypnotic drone. Straight to the perpendicular point and enticingly alluring at that but again, it was another stroke of head-scratching simplicity, one that has and will be aped to death.
It's no surprise that Jacobs often interlinks the themes of both his own mainline collection and Louis Vuitton. Just as they both start bang on time without a minute to spare (I've learnt the hard way, to get to both shows at least twenty minutes early), they have both become extravaganzas that bookmark the season, punctuating the beginning and the end with an emphatic statement. This season Jacobs went for broke and chose to begin and end with straight lines. It was mind-thuddingly easy to comprehend. Immediately, we're transported to Bridget RIley-esque op art. Wiliam Klein's film work and photography. Diane Arbus' iconic 1967 photograph of identical twin girls. Or on a simpler less-high brow level - Beetlejuice, go go and mod looks of the sixties and the humble chessboard. The beauty of it was that we had seen it all before, except Jacobs had the audacity to repeat and hammer in his ideas until we were convinced we were seeing something new.
The simplicity initially puzzled me but when I think back to a curious article on the New York Times, which seemed to imply that Jacobs had perhaps lost his "cool" , suddenly in context, two visually potent collections like these, reinforcing each other as a duo to prop up the season, seem completely appropriate. Yes, Jacobs may not create big sellers out of those stripes and checks, but at least he has produced the big idea of the season, one that has already graced covers, red carpets and permeated the way we're actually going to dress this season. Anybody with half a brain and half a pocket full of change, can certainly recreate these stripes and checks on the cheap. A quick search on eBay or Etsy already yields many a Jacobs/Vuitton-esque look that in some cases are even like-for-like indentical. Those "Get that look!" features that you so often see will have a whale of a time with this season's graphic statement. The important thing is that for this season at least, at the back of our minds, the visual power of those two collections dominate and pervade our mental image of what SS13 is roughly all about. They weren't the only collections where straight lines and to-the-point graphic patterns were utlised but Jacobs can definitely claim credit to being the first early in the NY SS13 season to make his point heard and Vuitton was like the checked cherry on top of the cake, which Jacobs still rules.