Marc Jacobs, the darling of US high-fashion, brought New York Fashion Week to a dramatic finale with show-stopping sharp hats, huge flourishes and extravagant scarves redrawing the silhouette of his woman for fall 2018.
If New York Fashion Week has been plagued by an identity crisis with a thinning schedule and glut between the passing of one generation and the search for another, then Jacobs's answer, with his own label suffering from falling revenue, was fantastical romance.
He returned to the Park Avenue Armory and a bare set -- just naked wooden floor boards and rows of utilitarian chairs with rapper Cardi B, singer Debbie Harry and fellow designer Raf Simons -- whose tenure at Calvin Klein has given Jacobs a run for his money -- sitting front row.
Outside, a small but vocal group of animal rights activists denounced the 54-year-old designer's use of fur. "Animals are not ours to wear," they yelled. "Marc Jacobs kills because you buy," read the placards.
Models wore wide-brimmed black hats, necks were wrapped in scarfs and the upper body cloaked in flourishes that emphasized the beauty of the luxurious fabrics and re-drew the contours of the body.
Those without hats sported sharp geometric haircuts, their tresses dyed to match the hue of their attire, from blue to green and purple.
His flamboyant shoes -- like something out of a children's fairy book -- with huge buckles and pink silk may have seen several of the models stumble slightly in their footing, but they were works of art.
"Huge flourishes, gestures, broad strokes and silhouettes expressed in rich and gorgeous fabrics," Jacobs wrote in the notes.
Masses of material were bunched up into rosettes, ruffles and flounces at the neck, waist and hip. Waists were cinched, pants cropped.
There were lashings of suiting with a boxy cut and broad shoulders, a nod to the power dressing of the 1980s, and his taffeta and velvet flounces and harlequin dresses to the extravagance of those years.
Jacobs came out for the briefest of waves at the end, and then began the stampede to the exit, and the race to the airport to catch the first flight to London, where the fall/winter 2018 fashion week season continues on Thursday, followed by shows in Milan and Paris.
Here are the other quick style highlights from Wednesday.
- Be My Valentine -
Michael Kors kicked off Valentine's Day at the Lincoln Center with a love letter to New York, his home town and the city synonymous with his label -- from his MK bags on the subway to ladies who lunch.
"The last thing you want is someone telling you what to wear, when to wear it and how to wear it. You do what you want, when you want," the 58-year-old billionaire designer tweeted after the show.
Closing with "My Favorite Things" from "The Sound of Music," the looks ranged from sporty to red flannel, loud yellow and black check, gray argyle, oversized woolen scarves, leopard print and plaid for fall 2018.
Kors was loyal to his tradition of using curve models in the lineup, sending out both Ashley Graham and Sabina Karlsson.
For evening, there was black -- the color appropriated on the red carpet this awards season by women protesting sexual harassment -- but usefully the color adored by wealthy New York women.
- Dreamer -
Colombian-born Esteban Cortazar returned to New York after a 12-year absence in Paris to honor South America and his American dream in the city where he made his fashion week debut in 2003 as a 17-year-old.
It was an impeccably cut display of minimalism, dresses in electric blue and yellow, a spectacular figure-hugging red dress and suits.
Born in Bogota, the son of a painter and a jazz singer, he moved to Miami as a teenager. He has dressed First Lady Melania Trump.
"It's about celebrating South America in many ways and me as a Colombian coming to America," he told reporters backstage.
"I feel like kind of a Dreamer in a way," he said in reference to a program for young immigrants the Trump administration scrapped last year, leaving 690,000 so-called "Dreamers" at risk of deportation.
"That's what I wanted to tell with the clothes, a celebration of unity and everything I am made up of."
Paradoxically, the first lady wore a Cortazar dress to last year's Independence Day festivities, buying it from a store unannounced.
She's "a beautiful woman and looked really great," he said.