Marc Jacobs: Sex Talk in a Straight Package
By CATHY HORYN
Covering up the body is hardly a source of provocation for Mr. Jacobs. Lately he has cloaked his models in layers, with Seuss-like hats. So what’s new in his statement?
A lot, as it turns out.
And yet, for the first time in a while, a designer has successfully pushed the sex button in a compelling way. Remember Alexander McQueen’s bumster trousers from the mid-1990s? That was a frankly raw style that eventually set in motion the near-universal trend of low-riding jeans.His woman is actually quite exposed—all that bare midriff and hip bone. And yet she’s wearing a fairly straight office suit, as straight as those stripes. The most conventional, everyday garment is made sexy by the low-riding skirt. Of course, we’ve seen low-riding jeans until we are properly sick of them. You think: nothing can be truly sexy nowadays because everything has been exposed, by one means or another.
Mr. Jacobs has done something perverse with a symbol of professionalism, conservatism, and get-ahead careerism. Given the political climate, the timing couldn’t be better.
“You don’t expect sexiness to come in such an outfit,” said the painter John Currin, backstage with his wife, the artist Rachel Feinstein. Mr. Currin seemed enchanted by the show. He also noted that because some of the suit jackets gaped a bit at the midriff, you could look up under them—a thrill for a man gazing at women. That, too, seemed to be Mr. Jacobs’ intention.
“It’s all unexpected satisfaction,” Mr. Currin said, beaming.