1. Official news of Marc Jacobs’ leaving Louis Vuitton broke following the label’s show this morning in Paris.
The announcement follows weeks of rumors that have swirled around the front rows at this season’s shows. After 16 years at the brand’s helm, Jacobs steps down as creative director to focus — with his business partner Robert Duffy — on an IPO for his namesake brands, Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs.
The fashion press is already giddily anticipating his successor, widely tipped to be former Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière. (But seriously, Marc’s probably not even cleaned his desk out yet so let’s give him a minute.)
3. To guests at the show, news broke a little sooner.
Before even entering the show space at the Louvre, guests passed by quintessentially French maids with feather dusters. Peacock feather dusters. Black peacock feather dusters. Sure, it’s a spring clean for the spring 2014 show, but also a sign of “cleaning house” on a grander scale.
4. And once inside, the runway set was all in black. Opulently funereal, and suitably reverential.
The staging itself paid homage to past shows’ highlights: an exciting mishmash including a carousel, a large fountain, escalators, and wrought ironwork lifts (which were in use throughout the show) attended by night porters in crisp bellboy uniforms.
5. Top models Kate Upton, Natasha Poly, and Anja Rubik all sat on the runway’s central carousel. They fanned themselves with more peacock feathers as the ride slowly span.
It was quite squeaky, in fact, but mostly drowned out by the runway soundtrack — hauntingly beautiful orchestral music that helped bring more than a few fashionistas to tears.
6. There’s Upton, specifically.
7. An ornate station clock hit 10 — that’s 10 a.m. sharp, because Marc Jacobs’ shows start promptly.
And then something very special happened.
8. The first look: an otherwise nude model body-painted in the Stephen Sprouse-inspired graffiti print that’s become perhaps the hallmark of Jacobs’ tenure at the fashion house.
A bejeweled cape of sorts hung from the model’s wrists, and there’s also a bit of crotch jewelry happening. But in terms of clothes, that was about that. And if it wasn’t already clear to everyone in attendance that the collection represented Jacobs’ fierce black swan song, this look telegraphed his “g’bye now” vision.
9. Oh wait, there’s also a fantastic, ostentatious peacock headdress. All the show’s models wore them.
10. And soon, you can bet on it, Anna Dello Russo will be wearing one too.
11. Jacobs showed 41 looks total, though everyone in attendance would have happily sat through 4,100.
12. Basically, it was the fiercest group of mourners you could hope for at your wake.
13. A little bit of melancholy, a shit ton of good design.
14. I mean, tassels! Feathery shoulder pads! Fishnets as pants!
This girl will be reading Khalil Gibran at my funeral, that you can count on.
15. Jacobs writes in the accompanying show notes that the collection is dedicated to all “the women who inspire [him].”
It’s a very long list, including Coco Chanel, Cher, Lady Gaga, Judy Garland, Madonna, Kate Moss, Barbra Streisand, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, to name-drop but a few. He explains, in his view, that all “are the figures [who] keep visual language vital. Their style, imagination, creativity, talent, vision and voice have changed our landscape.”
16. His message concludes on a beautifully wry note:
I take pleasure from things for exactly what they are, revelling in the pure adornment of beauty for beauty’s sake. Connecting with something on a superficial level is as honest as connecting with it on an intellectual level.
To the showgirl in us all.