Marc Jacobs, the creme de la creme of American designers, brought New York Fashion Week to a glittering finale Thursday, delivering a must-see show starring multi-colored dreadlocks and towering platform boots.
In keeping with the artistic, theatrical look of his clothes, Jacobs took over the Hammerstein Ballroom, a former opera house, that gave A-list guests Whoopi Goldberg and Courtney Love, as well as the assembled press, a stunning view.
The stage was bathed in white, then soft pink from hundreds of naked light bulbs suspended from the ceiling, as some of the world's most famous models — including Karlie Kloss, Gigi and Bella Hadid, and Kendall Jenner — sashayed past.
The middle of the stage appeared dotted with oil-slick type pools of grease, perhaps reminiscent of an early 1990s rave warehouse, for the last catwalk show before the spring 2017 season jumps over to London, Paris and Milan.
American fashion is sailing into troubled waters. The fashion calendar is in flux: Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford and Thakoon all unveiled looks for fall/winter 2016 — offering entire collections that were "see-now, buy now."
At great New York houses, the creative team is also changing. Diane von Furstenberg has handed over the reins to Jonathan Saunders; Oscar de la Renta passed away in 2014; Donna Karen has stepped down from DKNY.
Calvin Klein sat out the season, preferring to show spring/summer in February to align its calendar. Lauren offered a stunning collection on Wednesday night, but his clothes always stay true to his wearable, iconic look.
In many ways it was left to Jacobs to carry the mantle of true creativity in the United States — shown on 52 different models, far more than most.
Coats of many colors
His models wore multicolored, but largely cream and pink Rastafarian wigs coiled high on their head, and spring versions of the same seven-inch platform heeled boots and sandals that he unveiled for fall/winter in February.
Skirts were micro minis, there were metallic high-waisted knickers and skin-tight leggings and pants that all served to elongate the legs. Jackets, pants, skirts, bags and shoes were decorated in a riot of colors and sequins.
Each garment, each look screamed style. Everything was placed there for a reason, each item a piece of art and the entire look distinctively Jacobs.
His designs are adored by the fashion world even if it's difficult to imagine ordinary folk stepping out in them. But that's probably the point. There is nothing ordinary about Jacobs and he wouldn't want ordinary clients anyway.
His palette started out white and baby blue — embroidered jackets, metallics, over the knee socks with patterns or horizontal stripes — and then moved into bolder colors and there were witty takes on American sportswear.
There was a green and orange horizontal striped rugby-style shirt, military influence evidenced in camouflaged ruffled mini skirts, leggings and a coat, zips on tight red pants and smatterings of animal print.
Perhaps most lovely were various coats of many colors: a sequined version that glittered in the light, a suede coat in bloc colors — almost quilt-style but each bloc drawn on the bias — and a striking hot pink number again in suede.
The show closed with Irina Shayk, the Russian supermodel girlfriend of Hollywood heartthrob Bradley Cooper, dressed in high-waisted metallic pink hot pants, a jacket of fur purple sleeves and a striped suede cropped jacket.
And with that the last of the style set were likely heading to the airport, and jetting across the Atlantic for London Fashion Week, which kicks off Friday.