NY Fashion Week Spring 2018 Houston
New York Fashion Week

Marc Jacobs lets his 'twisted' fashion designs do the talking and courts controversy again

Marc Jacobs lets his designs do the talking, courts controversy again

Marc Jacobs spring 2018
Kaia Gerber, the daughter of Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber, closed the Marc Jacobs spring 2018 runway show in a yellow gown, black turban and opera gloves. Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018
Some critics accused Marc Jacobs of appropriating traditional black culture by featuring head wraps similar to those historically worn by African women. Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018
Models came out at the end of the show in a big group to an aria from the opera La Wally. Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018
Marc Jacobs sequined coat with pink tulle collar over a striped sweater and turtleneck. Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018
"Let's turn the girls out in joyous, oversized, reimagined, exaggerated prints and colors," Marc Jacobs said. Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 42
Marc Jacobs pink halter gown and matching turban. Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018
About his collection Jacobs said, "It's our twisted reinterpretation of what we see in the streets....somewhere."  Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 51
Marc Jacobs features a menswear look and sandals with exploding tassels. Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 55
One of Marc Jacob's more traditional looks: A strapless evening gown with a leg-baring slit. Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 43
The Marc Jacobs spring 2018 collection also featured wild prints. Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 Kendall Jenner
Kendall Jenner in yellow sweater and black turban. Some critics accused Jacobs of appropriating traditional black culture. by featuring headwraps similar to those historically worn by African women.   Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 33
At times, the collection resembles a sultan's harem, with models in flowing patterned caftan-like gowns and matching turbans.  Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 18
At other times, the Marc Jacobs collection is high-tech sporty, with nylon drop-crotch pants, an oversized orange moto jacket, Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 18
Marc Jacobs opened his runway show with a model in an oversized bright orange suit and fanny pack. Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 15 Kendall Jenner
Kendall Jenner in a sheer yellow striped top and three-quarter length pants dotted with daisies. Photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs spring 2018
Marc Jacobs spring 2018
Marc Jacobs spring 2018
Marc Jacobs spring 2018
Marc Jacobs spring 2018
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 42
Marc Jacobs spring 2018
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 51
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 55
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 43
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 Kendall Jenner
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 33
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 18
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 18
Marc Jacobs spring 2018 look 15 Kendall Jenner

Outspoken designer Marc Jacobs has never been at a loss for words. But when showing his spring/summer 2018 collection at the end of New York Fashion Week, he decided to stay quiet and let his bold designs do the talking.

They were plenty loud. And flashy. And controversy-generating. Again.

Jacobs, arguably America's most influential designer, decided to stage his runway show in silence. No booming disco music or cutesy tunes were to heard as his his 56 models walked in a big square along the Park Avenue Armory's spare wood floors, past an audience seated in a line of metal folding chairs.

It was only during the final runway walk when a haunting aria that ends the opera La Wally's first act reverberated through the cavernous space as the models appeared one last time, casually moving in a group like Olympic athletes on closing night in a basketball gym, and Jacobs made his customary bow.

The 54-year-old designer is not an opera fan, but chose the aria because it is a pivotal part of the '80s French New New Wave classic, Diva, which is one of his favorite films. (Mine too; here's a YouTube clip of the trailer with soprano Wilhelmenia Fernandez in the title role.)

As for the collection, Jacobs did have a few words about it in press material. "It's our twisted reinterpretation of what we see in the streets....somewhere," he explained. "We started from last season, and thought: Let's put the effort into making clothes. Let's show in the Armory, like we did before. No sets, no fancy lights, no music.....But let's turn the girls out in joyous, oversized, reimagined, exaggerated prints and colors."

As with most Jacobs' collections, he loaded his models with layer upon layer of clothing and accessories — coveralls over a print satin blouse with puffy sleeves; a sequined coat with pink tulle collar over a striped sweater and turtleneck; a techy jump suit with multi-colored fanny pack, cross-body bag, and spangly faux fur stole are just a few examples. Peel the layers off and each look has a number of items that will brighten up an existing wardrobe.

At times, the collection resembles a sultan's harem, with models in flowing patterned caftan-like gowns and matching turbans. Then it switches to high-tech sporty, with nylon drop-crotch pants, an oversized orange moto jacket, colorblock flight suits, and waterproof parkas. Jacobs also throws in a double-breasted suit in menswear fabric, worn with sandals exploding with a mass of silk tassels.

Evening looks range from dramatic gowns in bright colors worn with over-the-elbow opera gloves to kicky beaded macrame tops with billowy satin pants. It sometimes has a touch of "let's play dress-up in grandma's closet," particularly at the end, when Cindy Crawford's 16-year-old daughter, Kaia Gerber, appears in a sunshine-yellow sleeveless gown with a large flower at the left shoulder.

Even if it all seems a little overwhelming, one thing is clear when you cut through the clutter: Jacobs wants to make fashion fun again.

However, for the second season in a row, some critics accused the designer of appropriating traditional black culture. Last time, models went down the runway in multi-colored dreadlocks: this time some critics on social media noted that the head wraps are similar to those historically worn by African women.

But some fashion historians noted that the late fashion icon Diana Vreeland often worn turbans in the '70s and the head wrap was a staple of Grey Gardens protagonist Little Edie Beale's wardrobe. In his program notes, Jacobs said was inspired by a silver turban Kate Moss wore to the Met Gala in 2009.

Otherwise, he has remained silent.