Models turn their iphone cameras on the audience for the Marc Jacobs FW’17 finale (video still).

Marc Jacobs is known for a spectacle so his stripped-down runway show on at New York Fashion Week on February 16th came as a surprise to many. The famed designer presented forty-three looks to the tune of…silence. No music was heard, no set was seen, no iPhones were permitted (until the finale when models took to the streets and turned the cameras onto the audience), and there were definitely no technicolor hair extensions. Jacobs also declined to give interviews about the collection and instead included a written statement that highlighted his line of inspiration – a documentary called Hip-Hop Evolution. He explained:

 “As a born and bred New Yorker, it was during my time at the High School of Art and Design when I began to see and feel the influence of hip-hop on other music as well as art and style. This collection is my representation of the well-studied dressing up of casual sportswear. It is an acknowledgement and gesture of my respect for the polish and consideration applied to fashion from a generation that will forever be the foundation of youth culture street style.” -Marc Jacobs

Looks from Marc Jacobs FW’17 at New York Fashion Week, images courtesy of Vogue.

Last season Jacobs was criticized for cultural appropriation due to the model’s dreadlocked hair and this statement seemed to address that. Perhaps his change in the show’s artistic direction and tone was also an effort to underline the bleakness of the current political atmosphere or maybe he just wanted to reinstate that he is in fact a serious designer – either way, the collection of corduroy jackets, mini dresses, statement hats, and fur coats was reminiscent of an urban style that is just retro enough to be making a comeback.

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