Sep 11, 2012
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Marc Jacobs goes big on stripes at NY fashion week

Sep 11, 2012

NEW YORK, Sept 11, 2012 (AFP) - Marc Jacobs kicked romanticism to the curb with a bold New York fashion week show dominated by hypnotizing stripes and delivered at crackerjack speed.

Celebrities including singer-designer Kelly Osbourne and Latino heart throb Ricky Martin joined the crowd Monday at the Lexington Armory, where Jacobs sent his models out to the beat of "Copped It" by British punk group The Fall.

Marc Jacobs described his collection as 'very brutal, very sexy, very straightforward' (AFP/Getty Images, Peter Michael Dills)

"Very brutal, very sexy, very straightforward, no romance, no emotion, just real power and force and simplicity," is how Jacobs described his collection, a radical contrast from the ethereal vibe of many other New York shows.

Down the triangular runway came a barcode T-shirt, then a striped lab coat, then a striped ensemble with matching handbag, with a cameo T-shirt appearance by Mickey Mouse thrown in for good measure.

Later on, the straight and wide stripes gave way to curvy op-art graphics reminiscent of an LSD trip -- and indeed, Jacobs cited 1960s pop icon and Andy Warhol muse Edie Sedgwick as an inspiration.

Jacobs, who famously opened a 2007 show two hours late, quipped that Monday's show may have been his fastest ever.

"My dream is to have a show that lasts one minute," he said. "I'd love to have it over before everybody sees it."

Jacobs returns Tuesday with his Marc by Marc Jacobs diffusion line before heading off to Paris to show his latest Louis Vuitton creations.

Stripes dominated the Marc Jacobs show at New York fashion week (AFP/Getty Images, Peter Michael Dills)

Earlier Monday, living legends from the early days of the supermodel era won big cheers and loud applause at two New York shows, demonstrating that beauty has no sell-by date.

Carmen Dell'Orefice, 81, the Irving Penn and Salvador Dali muse who, more recently, lost her life savings in the Bernie Madoff investment fraud scandal, sparkled in a caramel gown at the climax of the Norisol Ferrari show.

Also walking the Lincoln Center runway for the New York designer, who launched her sophisticated ready-to-wear collection two years ago, were Carol Alt, 51, and Karen Bjornson, 60.

Ferrari clearly appreciates her mature clientele, telling in her show notes how she was inspired by "the curves of Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth and Rita Moreno, all strong, confident women who command attention, desire and respect."

From the formal elegance of Ferrari, Dell'Orefice and Alt kicked off the high heels and raced downtown to join pioneering black model Pat Cleveland, born in 1952, to walk the youthful Marimekko show in floral Converse high-tops.

It was the first time that Marimekko, the venerable Finnish textile manufacturer and lifestyle label famous for colorful prints has shown at New York fashion week.

Asked how many shows she'd be doing this season, Dell'Orefice -- a 16-year-old when she first appeared on the cover of Vogue in 1947 -- told AFP with a laugh: "As few as possible. I'm a print model."

Alt, Bjornson, Cleveland and Delle'Orefice all featured prominently in the just-released HBO documentary "About Face: Supermodels Then and Now" by filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

Theyskens' Theory, steered by Belgian designer Olivier Theyskens, sent out a range of fluid and sophisticated looks Monday, worn by models in identical wigs, beginning and ending with scalpel-sharp tuxedo suits.

"In this collection, I wanted something more projected, a bit more distant, and not fixed so much in our little reality," Theyskens told AFP backstage.

Founded in 1951, Marimekko is a rarity in the highly globalized rag trade -- a fashion and lifestyle house that manufactures its own textiles in its home country, with three factories humming in the capital Helsinki.

Under its chief executive and principal shareholder, Mika Ihamuotila, it has been growing aggressively in Asia and North America, with a raft of new stores opening in China and Japan.

"We don't want to separate design and production," Ihamuotila told AFP backstage. "We want to be totally different from the other fashion brands that design in New York and outsource their production in Pakistan."

Also making its New York debut Monday was British heritage brand Belstaff, famous for its belted four-pocket biker jackets. Eighty-eight years after its founding, Belstaff is relaunching itself as a luxury lifestyle brand.by Prune Perromat and Robert MacPherson

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