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New York Fashion Week: Marc Jacobs

September 16, 2011 | 10:40 am

New York Fashion Week: Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs has an extraordinary knack for staging runway shows that reflect the cultural zeitgeist. And this season what he showed us was desperation.

When the curtain lifted on his spring collection, models were lined up on a bare stage and draped over chairs. It was a scene that made me think of "A Chorus Line."

The 1975 musical about a group of dancers auditioning for the chorus of a Broadway show is also a kind of metaphor for anyone who has ever been desperate for work. That would be roughly 14 million people in the U.S. right now. Unemployment is also at record highs in Europe.

New York Fashion Week: Marc Jacobs How did this story play out on the runway? In the clothes, which seemed to be inspired by the dream of being a performer, from drop-waist, 1920s-inspired skirts with film strip fringe, to tinsel organza dresses, to sequin trim cashmere sweat shirts.

New York Fashion Week: Marc Jacobs Silvery nylon gingham dresses brought to mind pie-eyed wannabes fresh off the bus from Kansas, as did utilitarian-looking chambray suits and clear plastic cowboy boots.

When it came to materials, Jacobs picked up where he left off last season, playing with the notion of real versus fake, luxe versus cheap, using faux crocodile, plastic studs, cellophane and silicone. But unlike the posh and polished fall collection, these clothes looked bedraggled.

New York Fashion Week: Marc Jacobs The whole mise-en-scene as I imagined it could have a whole other meaning in light of recent news that Jacobs is considering leaving his role at Louis Vuitton to take the top job at Christian Dior, vacated by the disgraced John Galliano.

Jacobs may be the only guy on the planet right now with too many prospects.


New York Fashion Week: Ralph Lauren

New York Fashion Week: Rodarte

New York Fashion Week: Gap

-- Booth Moore in New York

Photos: Looks from the Marc Jacobs spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press; Peter Michael Dills / Getty Images