It is fashion week, and as reluctant as I am to acknowledge next fall while still waiting impatiently for spring — and therefore having completely overlooked the pre-Fall collections, some of which were fabulous — the shows do demand some attention. Two collections in particular represent to me the conundrum of the art of fashion: Rodarte and Marc Jacobs. It is in fashion as an art form the we see some of the most brilliant and original talent. And yet the reality is that, at the end of the day, fashion is a business and designers need to sell clothes to real women (besides Daphne Guinness and Anna dello Russo who can seemingly wear anything).
Sadly, while Rodarte has been the source of some of the most unique and inspiring design in recent years, the Mulleavy sisters seem to be struggling with the need to produce a collection which is more commercial. My own feeling is that this spring the results of that effort were somewhat disappointing (although admittedly that feeling is clouded by my aforementioned dislike of Van Gogh’s sunflowers as a rule). There is still an element of disappointment in the fall 2012 collection — it is not breathtaking in the way some of the past collections have been, and there are a handful of styles of which I am not a big fan — but it is made significantly more palatable by the overwhelming display of beautiful and extremely wearable clothes.
I found almost the opposite with Marc Jacobs’ collection. I loved the spring Louis Vuitton show, but what Jacobs does better than almost anyone is design clothes that are a bit unusual but which women wear (in extremely large numbers). His fall show, however, was a show par excellence — a real showman’s show. We know that he will deliver clothes that women can wear, so it is nice to see him create a show that is almost (not quite) pure spectacle.