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New York Fashion Week: Marc Jacobs gives new meaning to cheap chic

February 15, 2011 |  6:30 am

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With the Lexington Avenue Armory bathed in red light and the mirrored runway fitted with tufted vinyl columns, it was looking like Marc Jacobs' recent collaboration with Playboy might spill over into his collection.
 
Jacobs teamed up with Playboy to create three $35 T-shirts, with proceeds going to Designers Against AIDS, and created a window display for Fashion Week at his Marc by Marc Jacobs boutique here, using vintage Playboy bunny costumes.
 
But though there were no actual Playboy bunnys or even bunny ears, the idea of porn and how it relates to what is real and what is fake, what is beautiful and what is vulgar, could have been in the back of Jacobs' mind when he dreamed up the dressed-up, 1940s-influenced looks made from both fine (fox fur, pony skin, guipure lace, cashmere, satin) and coarse materials (vinyl, plastic, polyester, cellophane).

After all, you can have the same philosophical discussion about fashion as you can about porn, especially in this era of cheap chic, when original designs and high-quality materials often lose out to the immediate gratification of knockoffs.

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What made the collection all the more interesting is that you couldn't really tell the difference between what was real and what wasn't -- you couldn't tell that the glistening poker-chip-sized sequins on those covetable straight skirts and shift dresses (above, left) were actually made of rubber, that the short-sleeve "fur" sweaters were actually densely embroidered sequins (above, right) and that many of the romantic blouses were cellophane (above, center).

There were knit sweaters and sweater dresses corseted to hug every curve, many of them with polka-dot detail. A bonded satin skirt was paired with a polyester shirt (below, left), a lace dress with cellophane jabot (below, right); and a sheared fox-fur jacket spliced with fake crocodile panels (below, center).

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Jacobs' technique and the strict silhouettes elevated all the materials. It was a beautiful, fanciful and wearable collection.

-- Booth Moore in New York

Marc Jacobs Fall-Winter 2011 runway photo gallery

Photos: Marc Jacobs AW 2011 runway collection. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For the Los Angeles Times

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