As New York City becomes increasingly gentrified, one symbolic point of the shift is the way newcomers seem to bristle at the street sounds—cars honking and bumping bass-y music, people yelling and fighting, jackhammers, etc.—to the point of making noise complaints so egregious and xenophobic they almost become urban legend.
Marc Jacobs seems a little nostalgic for the old New York. Staging his Fall 2017 runway show in the armory as ever, his models strutted between a seemingly mile-long row of attendees, then walked out the door onto the street, where gathered fans and unsuspecting onlookers could see the looks. Heavily indebted to ’70s street fashion as viewed through a ’90s lens, staging-wise, Jacobs seemed to call back to the outdoor guerilla runway X-Girl held in 1994 outside his own fashion show. But he also cast the city’s eternal cool in its most iconic era, when the city’s infrastructure was in shambles and yet still set the platform for a hugely influential revolution in music, art, media and fashion.
Exaggerated Kangol-style hats and gold-zippered track jackets accessorized with doorknocker earrings and gold chains evoked the origins of hip-hop, while fur jackets and knee-high boots split the difference between Foxy Brown (Pam Grier, not the rapper) and Cookie Lyon. (I guess there was a little Foxy Brown the rapper in there, too.) In other looks, schoolgirl-fresh kneesocks paired with maroon-colored minidresses were natty and modern, while every trouser had so much give—you really can’t taper an ankle when you’re wearing a platform loafer the size of a brick.
Of course, the rumble and bleats of taxicabs were the natural atmosphere of the clothing, and as if to lodge an extra fuck-you to eager 311-dialers, the models eventually sat in folding chairs in front of a house-sized speaker soundsystem. When Marc himself ambled out for a bow, he was dressed very much like Serpico, or someone from Scarface, maybe longing for that old New York renegade spirit. His outro song, Isaac Hayes’s “Walk on By” from his iconic 1969 album Hot Buttered Soul, indicated where his head was at. Was it Jacobs’s most original moment? Certainly not, but it was at least better than last season. At the very least, it was more interesting than most of what we’ve seen at New York Fashion Week this season.