Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors Close NYFW Wishing They Were Anywhere but Here

Eric Wilson - Marc Jacobs
Photo: Randy Brooke/Getty

Why is it, whenever we take a dip into our personal streams of social media, it seems like one nonstop travelogue where everyone we know is constantly on vacation? Really, was there a secret airfare sale to Tanzania this summer that we missed out on? How is it so many people can afford to go to Greece for a month at a time except us?

We get it, you’re at the beach.

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It’s easy to feel sympathy for New York’s fashion designers who, unlike their counterparts in Paris and Milan, have to work all through August to prepare their collections in time for fashion week’s normal start right after Labor Day. While everyone else is having fun, they’re cutting and sewing and embroidering and sequining. So it was quite disarming when the final two major shows on Wednesday appeared to be ruminations on the subject of unfulfilled wanderlust. That Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors would both show collections about imaginary travels just goes to show how great a vacation sounds right about now.

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Jacobs, of all people, is accustomed to endless media scrutiny (the latest reports would have him hanging up his hat, though for what reason, exactly?). He could have thumbed his nose at the latest slings of doubters, but instead he got down to work with a novel concept: “During the last few months while friends vacationed, we took a holiday in our heads and went somewhere—twisting fantasy into reality through exaggerated, decadent and exotic sportswear silhouettes.”

Forget about the stay-cation. Spring 2018 is all about the imagi-cation.

Let’s say you have a safari in mind, or a trip to India, or perhaps a fetish for a virtual reality journey to Old Hollywood or another big city adventure. All of these places and things will come to you, if only you let them, as Jacobs did, in delightful clothes that combined head wraps and dhoti pants and sequined jumpsuits, oversize trousers, travel bags, loosely drawn floral prints, wild caftans with tinsel fringe, and one fantastic pair of painter’s coveralls, into a cosmopolitan bazaar that was so lavishly jumbled that the "Somewhere" theme of this collection started to make sense.

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As with his fall collection, the staging at the Park Avenue Armory was bare, with no soundtrack until the finale, this time played to an operatic aria rather than a giant boom box on the street. It was a fast show, without a lot of razzmatazz (he wasn’t holding the start of this one for Nicki Minaj who took her seat seconds before it began). And that obvious irreverence will further fuel speculation that Jacobs might well be over the media scrutiny he routinely faces as New York’s most popular—and provocative—designer. But I really doubt he’s done pushing buttons yet.

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Kors, meanwhile, has a formula for evoking the jet set lifestyle so easily that no one doubts his passport is the kind that automatically comes with extra pages. For spring, the theme was “Manhattan to Malibu … Beverly Hills to Bora Bora.”

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Trippy dyed sweatshirts and alligator flip-flops are all the rage in his world, never mind how long it takes to get to these places for those of us without a private jet or a magical suitcase that could hold such an endless wardrobe. I particularly liked his accessories this season—if you can’t easily get away to Hawaii, say, just put on a silver-coated lei and call it a day.

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