It may have been a sweltering 90-degree day in New York, but Marc Jacobs isn’t one to sweat a little weather. The designer’s return also feels like a turning point, arriving at a time when celebrations are returning and the streets are finally full again. Jacobs’ Fall 2021 collection — his first since showing Fall/Winter 2020 last February — codified the feelings of many: beautiful clothes don’t have to be serious, they just have to make you feel good. The bold colors, shining paillettes, and playful proportions all embodied the one-word title at the top of the evening’s show notes. “Happiness.”
As models turned their way through New York City’s iconic public library, guests got a glimpse of Jacobs’ vision for the season ahead, a blending of formal and sportswear with splashes of the designer’s signatures — a grunge check print and platform creepers, oversized MJ lettering splashed across separates. “Our decision to pause allowed us to slow down, reflect, ruminate, reevaluate, grieve, and take a thorough inventory of what works, what doesn’t work, what we love, what we are willing to let go of and what has value, importance and meaning,” Jacobs wrote in the show notes.
The collection’s oversized, and at times outlandish, proportions were one of the largest themes throughout. Puffer coats were blown up to the taut roundness of a balloon, sleeves stretch below hands and pant legs were wide, falling away from the body. The collection’s more formal pieces, gowns and layered dresses over pants, were accompanied by faux fur and down scarves trailing behind on the floor like a wedding dress train. While Jacobs’ diffusion line Heaven offers everyday pieces with a Gen Z bent, this collection embodies the same ease and irreverence but with grown-up sophistication. Like Jacobs’ personal style (which he chronicles often on his Instagram), the collection challenges traditional roles of dress — whether it be about gender or simply color clashing — reminding us that rules are quite frankly, boring.
Whether it was a purposeful nod to the past year or not, Jacobs also chose to embrace a few of the pandemics’ more practical shifts — a selection of models wore tall, leather gloves, many also wore snoods and scarves to cover the nose and mouth. While Jacobs’ clothes are playful, they also acknowledge the fact that what we put on our bodies is also what protected us over the last year. If some of the pieces later in the collection seemed familiar, it was because Jacobs sent each model down the runway in the same look twice — once bundled in their protective gear, and once in the same look sans armor. The effect again reminds us of the duality of dressing — it’s what keeps us safe, but also what brings us joy.
Below, watch the show in full and see more from the collection.