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Marc Jacobs
fashion show sparks controversy

Marc Jacobs
fashion show sparks controversy

Marc Jacobs is considered the bellwether designer of American fashion. So what's the outlook for next spring? Um, a lot of lingerie?

Jacobs presented his spring collection late Monday night to a packed crowd that had been waiting in the Lexington Avenue Armory for two hours. (Celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and Sheryl Crow didn't wait quite as long-- they seemed to know to show up ''fashionably late.'')

But it looked like he could have used a little more time. Models were wearing what Jacobs called ''scrap tops'' and ''one-half gowns''-- clothes that one presumes were left unfinished to make an ironic statement--thus, giving the audience plenty of glimpses of their silk, satin, and crepe bras, slips, and tap pants.

Individual elements of the outfits, such as a black lace cape or a moire sleeveless trench coat, were very attractive, but wearable clothes weren't essential here. Surely some of the stylists, retailers, editors, and fashion fans went home shaking their heads. Jacobs, however, definitely had a plan.

The entire show was staged backward, beginning with his bow, then the finale and then running through the looks, starting with number 56 and ending with number 1, a denim cape and sequined gown. Some of the shoes had heels built sideways into the uppers, while others skimmed so low on the heel they looked too small for the models even though they actually fit just fine.

It was almost surprising that Jacobs did indeed turn out clothes appropriate for warmer weather instead of parkas and cozy sweaters.

Even with all this ''message,'' the collection fit into some of the more important trends emerging from New York Fashion Week: color-blocking, sheer overlays, sequins, and nude and natural colors with bright pops from purple, pink, and orange.

It's probably safe to say, though, that the only place dresses decorated with Silly String would be on the runway was this show. (AP)

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Matthew Van Atta