Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall 2014: Playfulness turns into severity

Although his name figures twice into his diffusion label, for the first time Marc Jacobs is not in creative control.  For Fall 2014, the designer has handed the reins of Marc by Marc Jacobs across the pond to two familiar British colleagues: co-Creative Directors Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley.  Hillier is a longtime accessories designer who has counted Jacobs, Bartley, Victoria Beckham and Stella McCartney among her roster of collaborators.  For Bartley, the appointment is a return from a design hiatus.  Ever since her eponymous line shut in 2009 – this after numerous awards and an early designer collaboration with Target – she has remained largely out of the spotlight until now.

However, those looking for playful touches in their debut such as Bartley’s trademark heart-shaped logo that dangled off the iconic satchel bags still making the eBay rounds, or the diamond-eyed chubby bunnies that feature in Hillier’s current jewelry collections, will be disappointed.  The Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall 2014 collection uncomfortably settles on a space between a NASCAR driver’s uniform and a schoolgirl’s required classroom outfit.  Lamé dresses with graphics resembling endorsement patches appeared to be a forced attempt at color amid muted tones, whereas knee-length baggy trousers screamed traditional school uniform.  Body suits figured throughout, but with such loose cuts and pairings with asymmetrical wrap skirts, there was no point for the wearer to sacrifice comfort for form.  Even when large bows came into play, comprising the cut of a jet black or red plaid cape, the finish was too serious and forced.

The same held true for the accessories and shoes.  While purses and what the label referred to as “ninja” sneakers and pumps complemented the clothing well, as standalone pieces they lacked the whim of Hillier’s and Bartley’s past individual designs.  Given that Jacobs’ current collection in stores features breezy printed scarves, flouncy knee-length dresses, and dogs and bunnies (hint, hint) staring from tablet covers, why all the gravity?  Here’s hoping that the next collection will return the label to its carefree roots.

Photos: Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall 2014 – New York Fashion Week
all photos by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Video: Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall 2014 – New York Fashion Week
video by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine