PARIS, March 9, 2011The Fall collections ended today as they began nearly a month ago, with Marc Jacobs in arch provocateur mode, exploring and exploding the meaning of fetishes. In New York, the designer sported a latex T-shirt under his button-down; in Paris at Louis Vuitton, it was a miniature plastic mask of the sort that decorated the models' hats—peaked caps in the manner of Charlotte Rampling in The Night Porter. Backstage, Jacobs explained that the fetish idea came from a conversation with LVMH's Bernard Arnault about women's "inexplicable" (his word, not ours) obsession with bags. "And that got us started thinking about passions, and any of the disciplines that require effort and work and commitment," he said.
Disciplined is one word for this season's LV collection; kink is another, but more on that in a minute. First, the silhouette: If the sculpted jackets, blouses that buttoned up the back, and below-the-knee pencil skirts were a few millimeters more forgiving than the ones at MJ last month, they were bisected by waist-defining belts in shiny cordovan. Pants weren't a focus of this collection, but the ones Jacobs did show had a jodhpur shape—the discipline of dressage. And puff-sleeved, Peter Pan-collared French maid uniforms came tricked out in plasticized lace or decorated with appliqués in the shape of platform pumps, masks, and handcuffs. As for the kink, where to start? There were rubber dominatrix boots (instant hits, those), see-through flasher macs, and let's not forget the lace-ups that exposed a bare expanse of Kate Moss' thighs below retro briefs.
Moss, waving a cigarette and smoking in every sense, was only the super-est of the supes on the polished black runway. Naomi, Amber, and Carolyn all came out for Jacobs. The set was a feat in and of itself, complete with four working lifts and a porter for each, and a staircase on each side. It could've been an expensive hotel, circa the forties, and the girls high-paid escorts.
Their bag of tricks this season was the reinterpreted 1958 top-handle Lockit bag, sometimes affixed to the models' wrists with diamond handcuffs. We know of very few designers who can simultaneously pump out the product—in this case, many multi-thousand-dollar luxury handbags—and provoke like Jacobs can