Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Worlds Collide

Marc Jacobs

Donna Karan

So what did you think of the Marc Jacobs show?

It was great to see that Marc’s collection was full of color and optimism, I’m a little surprised that so many collections have been so dour.

So it makes me think, should a designer’s collection be a reflection the times or an escape?

Photos by Marcio Madeira, borrowed from style.com


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  1. Lynn Page

    February 17, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Personally, I look for more of an escape from the times than a reflection of them in fashion. I love the Marc Jacobs color and texture. Is that velvet?

  2. Miss Frugally

    February 17, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I really like the Donna Karan outfit!

  3. Anonymous

    February 17, 2009 at 10:24 am

    The Donna Karan outfit is gorgeous

  4. CĂ©cile

    February 17, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I’m not sure i’m able to tell if a creativ person must follow the time or search for new things… I guess it depends on how sensitive you are towards you environnement. No?

    Anyway, I really like the Donna Karan outfit!!

  5. Anonymous

    February 17, 2009 at 10:35 am

    I think designers can choose either one–a reflection or rejection of our times …personally, i prefer escapism. I loved Marc’s choice of colors, but hated the eighties theme. Haven’t we been doing that for a while now?

  6. gilty pleasure

    February 17, 2009 at 10:36 am

    love the mj show!

  7. Ryan

    February 17, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Woman in the first pic is beautiful, great legs…love the layers and the scarf. Well put together and still looks comfortable and like she’s not trying too hard.

  8. Cool Meister

    February 17, 2009 at 10:38 am

    My understanding of a phenominal collection, regardless of its uses of cool or hot colors, is that it should always be able to strike a cord at escape. This is sometimes in reference to reality, or inspite of it. I think this is key, if not for the excitment it evokes in an audience, then at least so the clothing might be sold. What better way to seperate a collection from its selling competitors than with the promise or reference to fantasy?

  9. -h of candid cool

    February 17, 2009 at 10:39 am

    It’s a good question. Perhaps I expect the grand fashion houses: (Dior, Chanel, etc…) to provide us with glamor and escape. But perhaps the more contemporary brands (dont know a better word…) should do something fitting with the times but still enticing enough to buy.

  10. Iheartfashion

    February 17, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Who needs reminding that the economy is tanking and we may be headed into another Great Depression? The best fashion provides not just something practical and wearable but a fantasy as well.

  11. verunchik256

    February 17, 2009 at 10:49 am

    The escape is always better, nomatter from what.
    Personally I think that this was Marc’s best collection for the last couple of seasons. The silhouettes are increadible. I’m ready to wear!

  12. The Obenson Report

    February 17, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I don’t think it has to be one or the other. Like any form of art, an umbrella under which fashion most certainly falls, there will be those artists whose works embrace the zeitgeist, as well as those whose works are pure escapism. Of course, others will dance in the middle.

    I welcome it all!

  13. Anonymous

    February 17, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Escpae for sure! I remember my mother during the 80s. Her clothes were amazing. I truly thought she was a film star and although at that time money was thin on the ground she made careful choices about her wardrobe that meant each outfit was a statement of glamour that screamed ‘I won’t let anything get me down!’.

  14. Anonymous

    February 17, 2009 at 10:57 am

    I think that a designer collection should be a escape…fashion is a way to express yourself. Ofcourse you could wear dark clothes in these times, but I personally prefer bright colours to get a positive future and leave the past behind.

    ”Fashion Forward”

  15. IRENE

    February 17, 2009 at 11:15 am

    It is I believe inevitable for fashion or any art form not to reflect the values and themes of their times. That is how Chanel or Dior made their revolution, by tuning in to their changing times.
    Because fashion addresses people who can afford to think beyond their bread making routine, it is also its duty to encourage and uplift, to ease people into their changing times.
    i do not like either photos, I’m afraid. Perhaps designers should look at te people in the streets for inspiration…I’ll let you know if i find a designer’s work that i like enough.

  16. Beatific Fashion

    February 17, 2009 at 11:19 am

    When you put escape in the concept of literature it is often considered it is the type meant for the more immature reader, while interpretive (which could be seen as the reflection of the time) literature is for the reader who is more advanced and wants a significant message in the novel he or she is reading. So I guess it all depends on preference and taste, after all it seems that escape literature is more popular and especially in times like this people want an escape to a kinder place.

  17. Cheryl

    February 17, 2009 at 11:21 am

    I think escape the times but does that mean when we are in “good times” we escape to dour fashion?

  18. stylethread

    February 17, 2009 at 11:29 am

    I find that collections are often reflective of the times, however I do not feel the collection SHOULD be reflective of the times.

    designers seek inspiration from many sources, and if MJ wants to continue to be happy, colorful, and whimsical, even though it’s contradictory to the times, then more power to him. We SHOULD focus more on what we want (happy) than what we may perceive to be a current environment (dour.)

    Just because the states are screwed up right now, doesn’t mean we have to embrace it. I don’t think a “happy” line is escapist, and I like to think the more we focus on “happy” the better off we will all be.

    It’s not a funeral we need to dress for, it’s just a cyclical road bump in world history.


  19. Thomas E.K.

    February 17, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Ineresting question. Fashion will always be relevant to the times regardless of it’s intention. Whether fashion reflects the zeitgeist or runs from it, fashion still provides a telling commentary on it.

    Even if you run from a mirror your fat ass is still reflected in it.

    But I’m with you on the Marc Jacobs line. Loved the vibrant neons and smart prints. Also enjoyed the interesting use of denim in the collection.

  20. Caroline

    February 17, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Somber collections only draw attention to the fact, especially some of the dark colors and baggy shapes I’ve seen this week — who wants to resemble Oliver Twist, even if our economy tries to dictate it?

  21. The Fashion Setter

    February 17, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    An escape is a reflection of the times, Scott

  22. Biru

    February 17, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    An escape, of course. I don’t think the world needs one more reminder that the economy is sour. Fashion is, to me, about dreams and fantasies, so it should be an escape from the troubled times we live in.

  23. Deana

    February 17, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    I love the escape of MJ’s show but it isn’t how I can afford to dress right now. And the whole eighties thing has been referenced over and over. I think it is time to move on.

    I would like some fashion that is about the future and not the past which sort of answers your question. Honestly, I think the designers will be forced to reflect the times or they won’t have any business.

    More than ever it is time to remember that, fashion is fashion but style is forever.

  24. Alyssa

    February 17, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    i have been pondering this exact thought for weeks now, as i am sure many are. i am going to write an “article” about this, as i am sure many are..in my opinion, it shold be both. why can you not design with the times in mind, yet at the same time add some sort of unwelcome flair? there has been doom and gloom on the runways, but i think it is the “marcs” out there that will be remembered. we can only have so many distressed looks, as a reflection of this “new depression”.

  25. suzanne nelson

    February 17, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I liked the MJ show. It made me feel happy and upbeat, it had bounce and some punch when i’ve been disappointed and bored by so many of the other collections. I also liked the DK show, i admire how the collection is both boldly creative and commercial. A fashion designer’s conumdrum is that s/he must give the public what they want just before they know they want it. In order to do that a designer needs to be very aware of what’s going on now, what cultural events and influences are having a real impact and shaping the zeitgeist. How a designer interprets that is highly individual some are escapists, some are realists. I think a good collection successfully manifests flights of fancy anchored by a link to function and practicality. American designers have long been associated with financial acumen, i would be surprised if nearly all of DK’s collection wasn’t a commercial success whereas you have to look a bit harder to see what would be flying off the shelves in MJ’s show, there were great accessories, shoes, boots, belts and underneath some of those outlandish jackets cute skirts and tops. I think the marketplace, even in the current climate, is diverse enough for both.

  26. Fannah

    February 17, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I love Marc’s designing.. it’s just so play- and colorful and unique and I love it. omgomgomg.

  27. Forever a Student

    February 17, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    i think his use of shapes to accentuate is very interesting — reminds me of the 80s a bit, but with a better upgrade… won’t be surprised to see a lot of that coming back — maybe a bit recession inspired (mimicking the crash in the 80s)??? who knows..

    .. love the ‘strong shoulder’s shot.. i think that’s a former classmate of mine and she’s still gorgeous.

  28. Tramdog

    February 17, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I think it depends on the designer, where he/she lives, and how he/she is impacted and affected by the times. I think now, more than ever, fashion is depicting the times more than escaping from them.

  29. Julicious Fashionicious

    February 17, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    It is pleasant to me that Mark despite his full employment in LV,Marc by Marc and Marc Jacob collections, always surprises. He is not afraid to mix different colours and the invoice of materials. I think that now at the time of recession, people would like an optimistical fashion, that is colour bright and juicy,and bold.
    Donna Karan opposite always chooses quiet colours and simple models of the collection.

  30. Anonymous

    February 17, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    The Donna Karan dress looks like a giant dinner napkin folded up and strapped to her chest, but in a good way. It totally works! I love it.

  31. monique

    February 17, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I would hope that there are degrees on both sides. How boring if they all reflected it and equally boring if it’s all about escape. The good news is designers are individual, creative people and so we have variety.

    Now, what people will buy is another question altogether.

    Whoa, that Donna Karan blouse is crazy beautiful. It’s interesting that you can see immediately how it’s constructed. It looks simple but I’m sure it’s not. I love how she pairs it with the wide-leg pant. Very elegant and comfortable. — Oh, that’s a long skirt. Still nice but less casual. I also dig the MJ dress and if I had the money would buy them both, regardless of “the times”.

  32. Anonymous

    February 17, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Fashion is at it’s best as escapism. Too much reality is never good. As Galiano says you need to dream.

  33. princess glee

    February 17, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    If times are bad then go with escapism. If times are good then go with a reflection of reality. In life, the times are generally a mixture of the two.

    The Donna Karan look is sexier and the Marc Jacobs’ is more fun. I’ll take the DK silhouette and the color and fabric of MJ

  34. Camille

    February 17, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Marc Jacobs, as always, created his own little universe through his collection. The palate was filled with rich purples and yellows, offset by surprisingly hippy proportions and baggy trousers. I fell in love.

  35. Anonymous

    February 17, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I must say that the collections that have been presented in these days are very similar and kinda boring. I liked the Marc Jacobs show but i personally expected a bit more. The colors were great but i think that the recession is really wighing down the designers. Nothing so far has been BOLD or exciting…keep fingers crossed for Rodarte…

  36. Anonymous

    February 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    the shoulders i can deal with, but the emergence of The Wild One biker boots on women: yuk! IMO they look best on men and just look clunky and wrong on females. in 12 months time when looking back to the archives, i think they will produce the cringe factor…

  37. Idia'Dega

    February 17, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Fashion is society it is social. To reflect from and/or deflect from society. The depth of the importance of fashion allows for both things to occur, there is room and need for both. Not either or.

  38. UneFillePetite

    February 17, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Wow. The Marc Jacobs dress is breathtaking ! I think I’m in love !

  39. Chloe

    February 17, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Loved Marc Jacobs! what amazing colours and shapes. I really liked the big shoulders towards the end of the show.

  40. geri

    February 17, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    that is the beauty of art, no?

  41. sparrow

    February 17, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Escape from reality is an unhealthy practice when too deeply indulged; one should try to be courageous enough to face the world as it is. Fortunately for escapists, fashion designers rarely create with day-to-day reality in mind. For reality, we buy clothing from L. L. Bean. ;)

  42. PScott

    February 17, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Marc Jacobs is fun and snazzy if you’re going to a Jetson’s reunion. Donna Karan is gorgeous and I’d buy either outfit for my wife in a second.

  43. Lucy

    February 17, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    It shouldn’t reflect time at all! nor should it be an escape. I think collections that leave a great impact at a certain moment are those that reflect the current atmosphere but collections that leave an everlasting impression are timeless. :)

    And that Donna Karan outfit is GORGEOUS!!!!

  44. Anonymous

    February 17, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Great comments. Thanks for bringing up the topic, Scott.


  45. Shaynuh

    February 17, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Whooooooa! His collection this season is amazing! Loved his choice of fabrics and prints! Very lux and somewhat Parisian. I loved the 80s and futuristic references (i.e. broad shoulders, bold colors, prints, and leggings…did you see those SHADES?! )

    And in response to your second question I think fashion shouldn’t be limited to either or. :0)

  46. Shabs

    February 17, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    an ESCAPE!!!

  47. mimi(cigalechanta)

    February 17, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Looks like something Posh would wear!

  48. Michelle

    February 17, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    I think there is room for both-
    We need to be able to express feelings of optimism as well as sink into reality every once in a while. The best is when they are combined!

  49. Gibron S

    February 18, 2009 at 12:48 am

    I didn’t care for the Marc Jacobs show, I didn’t feel as if it took us anywhere we haven’t been. Derek Lam had a similar thought process for a show a couple of seasons back.
    There wasn’t any thing that stuck out in my mind as innovative, and I feel that some of the shoes were the same as a year ago.
    I simply wasn’t blown away…

  50. greying pixie

    February 18, 2009 at 1:15 am

    Designers always subconciously work in a way that is influenced by as well as being an influence on the society they are in. That is the essence of design.

    If a designer conciously sets out to counter the flow of time, fashion becomes costume and loses its meaning and connection to the real world.

  51. Ty

    February 18, 2009 at 1:20 am

    “So it makes me think, should a designer’s collection be a reflection the times or an escape?”

    I like to think that the there is no “should.” The decision lies solely upon the artist and their “sense of life.” Just as with paintings and sculpture, there is no right or wrong as to whether or not an artist chooses to create work that embodies the greatness/ fulfilling potential of mankind, or the terrors that make life a living hell, it all has to do with what the artist believes and desires to look at.

  52. Anonymous

    February 18, 2009 at 4:18 am

    I think the question only becomes valid once the designers have their feet on earth. Unfortunately, design schools very rarely teach about costs, production processes, overhead, working capital etc. etc. and most of young designers just follow the inspiration in their cloud no matter how realistic it may be. As one of them told me the other day, after he lost one of his survival jobs ‘I never thought the crisis could touch ME’. First, designers need to get closer to reality, then the question of escapism vs reflection can be posed.

  53. Vintage Me New You

    February 18, 2009 at 7:44 am

    I adore Marc Jacobs, he is always excellent in picking materials and colors, matching elegance with daring elements!
    As for Donna Karan, the shapes are amazing and the fluid materials, very well done!

  54. matilda

    February 18, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Isn’t that something the designer should decide? What the designer says with the collection is more important than weather it’s a reflection of today or not. There are a hundred more significant questions than the asked. There should be more of a “Why”.

  55. Akare

    February 18, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Escapism, who the hell wants to live this crisis?

  56. Sprockette

    February 18, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Surely creativity doesn’t ride on economic situations…
    I hope neither.

  57. M.

    February 18, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Fashion, most of the times, is already an escape. It shows how we’re gonna see things in the future (no matter how near it is), making us free to stop thinking about the present, to forget the things that make us sour and unhappy.
    For now, the MJ show was the best one, it made me happy to look at.

  58. L A D Y E L E C T R I Q U E

    February 18, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Didnt like this collection too much, its just not marc jacobs. I think the past two years havent been too great for him…

  59. JulesAndCoffee

    February 18, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I believe I prefer fashion to be an escape. We already have the reality in the present so there’s no mindblowing with the idea of a reflecting fashion. Fashion should be something that stands out and keeps your eye on it. Perhaps even something that gives hopes and ideas. Like the Marc Jacobs dress. For me, it gives hope. That the future will bring joy and beauty.

  60. Merle

    February 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Someone here previously said that “just because the states are screwed up right now…”. Precisely an escapist form of thinking. I believe everyone counts in the state system. Even if we might not be directly accountable, we should only be aiming at making the situation better, not worse. We should not be mourning (in fashion either), but also we should not turn our backs. So, I advocate for engagement, rather than detachment. Although means could be different here.

  61. Anonymous

    February 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    yeah mj wasn’t too impressive.

  62. Anonymous

    February 18, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Sart, you should ask your readers more questions; many of the comments on this thread have truly been thought-provoking and intelligent.

  63. Anonymous

    February 18, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    i think its best when the designers collection reflects an escape, especially during not so good times

  64. in the mood for life

    February 19, 2009 at 1:44 am

    I think it can be both. Fashion should be limitless. Anyhow, excellent works from both designers. Donna Karan’s has similar patterns with Armani Prive, the ones Angelina and Anne wore on one of those award ceremonies.

    I was wondering if any actresses will wear their outfit for the upcoming Oscar.

  65. Fashion For Love

    February 19, 2009 at 9:49 am

    It was so loud and drama and it was just SO MJ. I really enjoyed it. Seeing some fun to offset the boohoo of the “economy-chic” beige we keep seeing for Fall ’09 was pleasant. Such a good use of texture as well.

  66. kristen

    February 19, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Jessica Stam looks gorgeous… as always.

    As per your question: I think fashion is powerful enough to do both escapism and reflection at the same time. How about bright, light and lifty colours and designs, but put together with less expensive fabrics? Seems easy enough.

  67. A Weekend in The City

    February 20, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Re Marc Jacobs: the 80′s are still clearly, back and/or in. I love it this way…it’s just the watered down versions you see on the street that are so tiresome. Shoulders shoulders shoulders! One of his best collections to date (still much kudos for his SS08 show).

  68. Anonymous

    February 22, 2009 at 7:20 am

    why only 2 options?? is there a third one? i guess it’s a couple of things that makes a collection relevant to the world, to the times.

  69. Anonymous

    February 22, 2009 at 7:23 am

    and keeping in mind, that a collection, specially as shown in the runway, is part of a big business and industry, but, above of all, is part of culture.

  70. EJ

    February 22, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    marc marc marc
    always does it right
    donna does too…
    you gotta have a range!

  71. Jennifer

    February 27, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    I don’t want to wear depressing clothes during depressing times. But then I don’t want to look like a clown either.

    I know the shows don’t reflect what arrives in the shops, but I thought Marc’s show has too much ’80′s and not enough 09′. I guess he finished with the ’70′s and didn’t know what else to do?

    It’s nice to see Donna things looking nice again. Her things were rather droopy for awhile.

  72. Anonymous

    March 2, 2009 at 11:06 am

    hmm i think there’s a path in fashion that actually has nothng to do with “OUR TIMES”. An by the way were talking about a financial crisis, nothing else.
    so that discussion to me is really unnecessary.

  73. ada

    March 14, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    I’ve decided.
    The DK top is clean and lovely, but the pants don’t work for me. I give it to Jacobs and here’s why:
    The outfit is a suggestion, a gasp, a scream– that is, startling. It tugs at the imagination, and that, I think is the point of fashion (reflection or otherwise). That said, seeing the Jacobs would actually inspire me to wear the Donna Karan =)

  74. dreamcrusher

    March 18, 2009 at 10:07 am

    fashion design is an artform, and as such, is should always be a form of escape. That is what art is, an escape of some sort.

    Its kind of funny, they say couture is ‘wearable art’, but does that mean couture is a form of ‘wearable escapism’?

  75. Stephen

    March 22, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    the best artists, in my opinion, are the ones who create a harmonious marriage between the familiar and the distant.

  76. Gigi

    July 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Depends on the times; some times require more escape than others. ;-)

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