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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 01: Cardi B is seen wearing a Marc Jacobs sheer ruffled outfit, yellow leggings outside the Marc Jacobs show on July 01, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images)

Marc Jacobs’s Swipe at Conservative Values: A Bold Fashion Statement

On a cool summer evening following a series of storms, Marc Jacobs hosted his latest show at the Public Library, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of the 1960s. The opening featured white dresses in crisp cotton and eyelet, with full skirts that floated away from the body, evoking the style of the Nixon daughters, Tricia and Julie. The final trio of gowns, adorned with bows at the waist and long white gloves, recalled the sedate princess style of the ’60s and early ’70s.

Jacobs’s conservative styles, including boxy suits and babydoll dresses with Peter Pan collars, were not merely a nod to the Establishment elite but also a reflection of a period marked by intense political and cultural change. This era, characterized by the Free Speech Movement, the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, and the fight for women’s equality, was one of great upheaval. In today’s context, with liberal values seemingly losing ground, Jacobs’s collection could be interpreted as a critique of conservatism and its nostalgic grip on the past.

However, Jacobs’s designs were far from straightforward. The white dresses, with skirts partially flipped as if caught in a twirl, resembled the frozen figures at Madame Tussauds. The models’ lacquered hairdos and pastel eyeshadow patches with long black lashes brought to mind Holly Golightly’s whimsical nightshade in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Many styles had deliberately off-kilter elements: a hiked-up skirt, a wonky neckline, or hunched-forward shoulders, suggesting a refusal to conform.

Jacobs, dressed in jeans, a white shirt, and extra-long bejeweled nails, remarked, “We tried not to overthink anything.” Despite his casual demeanor, he and his team put significant thought into the collection, allowing room for interpretation—a hallmark of his work in recent years. Jacobs eschews traditional post-show interviews, instead offering a few words in his press notes. This time, he emphasized the importance of choosing love over hate, faith over fear, and living with authenticity free from the constraints of conservatism and societal norms. Fashion, he noted, is a means of expressing identity and beauty—a source of joy.

The collection, with its bold colors and unique designs, felt both bold and a swipe at conservative attitudes, including the “quiet luxury” trend. Intense hues like deep blues, pinks, and reds were often combined with chartreuse or stark white. One standout outfit featured a white oversized jacket with a bright-red A-line skirt and turquoise pumps with turned-up elf toes, evoking flag colors with a whimsical twist. An off-the-shoulder pink gingham top paired with a denim skirt channeled Daisy Mae from the Dogpatch cartoon strip.

Many shapes in the collection were cartoonish yet beautiful, exuding a sweet innocence. Jacobs constructed some clothes with a built-in slouch and others so that they stood away from the body, creating an effect reminiscent of a paper doll’s imperfect fit. This stylistic choice served as a palimpsest of Jacobs’s earlier styles and attitudes, challenging viewers to reflect on the past and present.

Adding to the night’s allure, Cardi B made a memorable appearance at the show, donning a custom lilac, purple, and yellow feathered songbird dress from Marc Jacobs’s Spring 2020 Ready-to-Wear collection. She paired the dress with yellow knit tights and the designer’s iconic white Kiki boots. Her look was completed with yellow-framed sunglasses, a retro-style beehive hairdo, a nude lip, and long pink nails. Cardi’s vibrant presence and bold fashion choices perfectly complemented the spirit of Jacobs’s collection, underscoring the designer’s message of joyful self-expression and defiance of conservative norms.

In essence, Marc Jacobs’s latest show was a masterful blend of nostalgia, critique, and innovation, with each design offering a unique take on the past while challenging present conventions.

Jonas Muthoni
Jonas is a visionary serial entrepreneur with an innate ability to turn ideas into influential realities. As the founder of Deviate Agency and SomeFuse, Jonas has successfully carved a niche in the world of media by helping brands capture the spotlight with his meticulously crafted strategies. His prowess goes beyond business; he is an avid writer and contributor to various publications, sharing insights that reflect his deep understanding of the contemporary market landscape. Beyond his professional pursuits, Jonas's heart is deeply rooted in philanthropy. For over six years, he has been a dedicated board member for a breast cancer organization, reinforcing his commitment to giving back to the community and making a tangible difference in the lives of many. In a world that's constantly evolving, Jonas Muthoni stands as a beacon of innovation, compassion, and leadership.