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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

ACMD FASHION BLOG: Glitter, Hype Outshine Designer Marc Jacobs` Work For Perry Ellis

 It was a happening first, with fashion playing a secondary role, when Marc Jacobs introduced his first collection for Perry Ellis in Soho`s historic Puck Building Monday night before an audience of 1,200. About 700-all standing and frequently breaking out with whistles, cheers and applause-seemed to be Jacobs` nearest and dearest friends.
Models carried the ebullient 25-year-old designer down to the end of the runway at show`s end, smothering him with hugs, kisses and flowers. Retailers then went backstage to pay him homage, but their comments later were more guarded than enthusiastic.
There are some absolutely wonderful things in the showroom,`` said Saks Fifth Avenue`s national fashion director, Ellin Saltzman.
Bergdorf Goodman`s fashion director, Andy Basile, called the collection
``very, very American.``
``It`s Marc`s version of the L.L. Bean catalogue,`` he added, referring to the suede jeans, the parkas and down vests in bright pink or lime satin;
the skirts or vests in sequined buffalo plaids (those red and black checkerboard-type plaids used in rugged flannel shirts); and, most obviously, the bedspread-sized (twin) cashmere shawls in Jasper Johns-inspired stars and stripes (that will retail for more than $3,000).
The collection, actually, is schizophrenic, a totally disjointed grouping of some of the best of Jacobs` signature items from past collections under his own name (notably his big egg-shaped turtleneck sweaters, handknit tweedy cardigans, hooded knit ponchos) as well as Jacobs` interpretations of preppy looks that Ellis did so well.
But Jacobs does not have that certain Ellis whimsy and mainly faltered, in fact, when he tried to do Ellis doing Ivy League (Norfolk jackets, khaki pants with D-rings and tabs on the backsides) or when he tried to combine an Ellis mood with tough, downtown accessories and attitude (a long, tailored gray satin shirt-styled dress unbuttoned to nearly panty level with a stiff wide black belt and over-the-knee suede boots.)
``It was Marc Jacobs without a doubt, not Perry Ellis,`` said Marshall Field`svice president and fashion director, Sal Ruggiero, ``but it needs that kind of energy to bring attention back to the house of Perry Ellis and, hopefully, breathe back the life that Perry brought to American sportswear.`` The presentation, however, did little to enhance or spotlight the clothes.
``I loved some of the individual pieces,`` said Saks` Saltzman. ``But they don`t have to be worn with backpacks and crew hats,`` she added, referring to the squashed stitched satin caps that other retailers simply called ``goofy.``
``The fashions,`` Ruggiero commented, ``got lost-thrown away-in the presentation,`` noting that the impact of certain shapes or great color combinations (rusts, corals, orangey tones or mauvey lilac to eggplant) cannot be appreciated when models hop, skip, run or stomp down a runway.
Jacobs, who obviously loved the clothes more than most, as well as the show (which he orchestrated), also seemed to be enjoying the television spotlight backstage where he told interviewers that he did not at all mind not having his name on a label any longer. ``I can`t imagine a better label to work with,`` he said.
Meanwhile, a few feet away, a former Chicagoan, model Cindy Crawford, was being interviewed for a fashion video. Her appearance in the Ellis show will be her only one this season. She leaves Tuesday for Rio where she will play the part of Emily in Zalman King`s movie ``Wild Orchid,`` starring Mickey Rourke and Anne Archer.

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