Marc Jacobs’ Front Row: the Great Equalizer
Seating at a fashion show can be a tricky thing.
To say that there are a lot of egos involved is certainly an understatement. Editors have skipped shows because they didn’t like their assigned seats, or walked out because they were seated behind someone who they felt was “below” them in magazine ranking. I’ve never been particularly obsessed with where I’m seated. Maybe that’s because I started attending the European shows pretty early in my career, when standing was often the best an online outlet was going to get. Now, I generally sit, and sometimes in a very good seat. Which is nice, but doesn’t make or break my desire to attend and cover the shows. You can still feel the energy from the fourth row. Or even the tenth.
But I have always been fascinated by the politics of seating, and the way some people get so riled up over their place in the scheme of things. Which is why last night’s Marc Jacobs show was such a moment. The maze-like formatting meant that everyone was sitting front row, which meant everyone’s ego was soothed. (And if it wasn’t, then they certainly need to A. get the heck out of fashion, or B. seek professional help.)
Jacobs has a lot riding on this collection: it was his first after departing Louis Vuitton, where he was artistic director for more than a decade. It was also his only: Marc by Marc Jacobs is now designed by Luella Bartley and Emma Hill, two Brits with just the kind of energy to refresh the contemporary label, which had gone flat over the past few years. Sure, that line is still under Jacobs’ watch, but last night was his one chance — this season, at least — to deliver his direct message. Giving front-row access to the whole lot meant that we got to see the clothes and accessories very much for what they really were. And for a designer who is planning an initial public offering over the next couple of years, it was a chance to make everyone in that room feel like they were inside Marc Jacobs’ world. The audience members — who were Instagramming up a storm — are his evangelizers.
By the way, when I first received my ticket, I definitely thought it said Row I, not Row 1. I would’ve still enjoyed it.