The Marc Jacobs Fall 2014 collection began with reduced shapes in restrained fabrics: a scoop-neck tank dress in double-face wool paired with matching pants, a clingy mélange knit V-neck accompanied by ribbed leggings that pooled over the tops of comfy sneakers. Like loungewear for some next-level spa or health clinic—a feeling that was heightened by the models’ fabric headbands and matching razor-cut bobs. As the show progressed, Jacobs slowly added demonstrative pieces in more lavish materials, crescendoing with hand-painted organza ruffles on a strapless dress and dense crystal beading on a swirl-print tunic and flares with a lean, 1960s look. His shearlings, dyed in sunset hues, will go down as best-in-show in a week that offered plenty of choices. The chain-strap bags looked luxuriously efficient.
From beginning to end, it was all neutrals and soft pastels. Partly for that reason, it didn’t bowl you over in that hyperkinetic way some MJ collections do. Instead, it worked a subtler kind of magic, almost a narcotic pull. The soundtrack certainly tunneled its way into your consciousness. It was Jessica Lange performing a spoken-word version of “Happy Days Are Here Again,” the Depression-era song that Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland famously reprised in the sixties. You couldn’t quite tell if Lange was trying to convince herself or the audience. Either way, by the end Jacobs had made us believers.