Like everyone else on the Internet, I’m furiously scrolling through my Instagram feed and reading the subsequent runway reviews in order to stay one step ahead of upcoming trends. What I’ve started to realise is that many journalists are starting to couple their interpretation of a show with a commentary on the economic viability of the brand. Marc Jacobs is not immune to the scrutiny, and following the debacle of last season’s dreadlock fiasco it blew my mind that he decided to create a collection dedicated to vacationing and thought it appropriate to accessorise with silk turbans by Stephen Jones. While the humble headwrap may seem like a fun way of jazzing up an outfit, it is an accessory which is synonymous with religious values and women from Africa. You could argue this is a highly inclusive runway casting, with women of colour appearing as often as the pseudo celebrity supermodels (I’m looking at you Kendall, Bella, Gigi and now Kaia). Inclusivity does not excuse cultural appropriation. While it might seem wonderful for the individual women of colour to walk for Marc Jacobs in terms of their career, if it then creates a generation of women and young girls who may not see wearing a turban as cultural appropriation then it’s a win-lose situation. But maybe I’m overreacting, and wearing a turban is not a big deal.
Turbans aside, the big feather boas and sequinned were the only pieces able to capture my attention throughout the show, which was presented in dead silence at Park Avenue Armory. The sneakers were an iteration of a previous design from Marc Jacobs, which copped a lot of criticism in bearing strong similarity to those of German designer Bernhard Willhelm. The only difference was the addition of cheap pom poms. Fanny packs, ill-fitted suits and the cardinal sin: socks paired with sandals were thrown together in a reference to “taking a holiday in our heads”, as implied by the show name “Somewhere”. I couldn’t figure out where I was supposed to be holidaying with Marc Jacobs, nor could I get behind disjointed colour combinations. You could argue in defense of Jacobs that sometimes art isn’t for consumption of the audience, but is merely something to look at. But that argument doesn’t ring true for a fashion designer and the retro prints, didn’t help me reimagine seasons past beyond the urban landscape of New York City. Instead it makes me wonder whether Jacobs is in touch with a youthful audience, and can truly compete with the luxury fashion houses which have risen to dominance over the last year and a half.