Eager anticipation was the feeling du jour before the beginning of the Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall 2014 show at New York Fashion Week. With a new British design team at the helm of the brand–Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier (shown above)–and a rebranding that officially changed the name to MBMJ, no one knew quite what to expect. Certainly, no one thought they’d see the girls stomp down the runway wearing a collection replete with influences as varied as BMX biking, manga, and British punk. But that is exactly what happened, and after we got over our initial shock we realized it kind of worked.
In an interview with Grazia before their MBMJ debut, Bartley and Hillier mentioned part of their design process was figuring out their inspirational girl (they ditched menswear for the time being). They wanted to design for a feisty, strong, and independent woman–the kind who would travel to Japan alone. Ultimately they ended up designing a collection fit for a Sporty Manga Princess–an athletic revolutionary who kicks butt and takes names. She rides dirt bikes one moment but can easily slip on a sleek black evening coat with a giant bow the next–and make the transition seamlessly.
Looking at the collection takes one on a fantastical journey to a new youthful land, full of color and possibly danger. It’s consistent and cohesive, and the looks work well in their own landscape, but their boldness does make us wonder how well it will work in retail, especially considering who Marc by Marc’s customer has been thus far. (Young and hip, for sure, but not necessarily all that edgy.)
Would the average college girl at the University of YOUR STATE HERE walk around in BMX pants emblazoned with “Twisted”? Hard to say. Maybe she’s no longer a Marc girl anyway, and there’s no harm in that. This Fall 2014 collection is such a departure from the erstwhile Marc aesthetic–Spring 2014 had flowers and pastels; Fall 2014 has Revolution! and Uprising!–that it’s clear the designers started over with a completely blank slate.
That said, when you break the looks down into their separate pieces, there are wearable elements for days. The shaggy black fur coat, all the handbags (which do so well for MBMJ), the tulle skirts, the shiny leather skirts, and a near-perfect black leather jacket are all on our wish list.