Marc Jacobs Brings New York Back to the Runway

At the New York Public Library’s marble entranceway, Marc Jacobs stages the city’s first major fashion show since the pandemic began.

Marc Jacobs backstage at his Spring 2022 runway show. All images courtesy Marc Jacobs

The last time Marc Jacobs staged a fashion show was in February 2020—one month before the coronavirus pandemic ground all in-person events to a screeching halt. Unlike other labels that experimented with in-your-face music videos and lackluster livestreams to present new collections, the American designer largely eschewed the digital realm as a replacement for the runway. Instead, he took much-needed time to recharge, reevaluate his priorities, and do what he does best: read the zeitgeist. 

“Our decision to pause allowed us to slow down, reflect, ruminate, reevaluate, grieve, and take a thorough inventory of what works, what doesn’t work, what we love, and what we are willing to let go of and what has value, importance, and meaning,” Jacobs wrote on Instagram. “Creating a collection requires enormous effort over many months from our small group of extraordinarily talented and dedicated individuals. We find purpose in the work from and for periodic but powerful transcendent moments of joy. And while the world changes with unimaginable speed, my love for fashion, the desire to create and share collections through the delivery system—the runway—endures.”

Jacobs aimed for his first runway show since the Before Times, aptly called “Happiness” and staged Monday at the New York Public Library’s grand marble entranceway, to help ease the fashion industry back into normalcy. The Spring 2022 set felt understated and free of attention-grabbing gimmicks—no pyrotechnics, trippy video projections, or dancing troupes to be found. “Just clothes,” Vanessa Friedman writes for the New York Times, “animated by real people, moving through the world for about nine minutes and 32 seconds.”

The clothes themselves embodied the tension between lockdown loungewear and Gen-Z irreverence with unapologetically bold Space Age proportions. The acid bright ribbed-knit bodysuits, flocked blanket skirts, hooded coats, and generously proportioned down puffer gators “kinda said it all about how it feels to be back in the world,” Booth Moore writes for WWD. “Happy to be here but in need of some security—perhaps in the form of a faux fur security blanket, carried in hand.” Bergdorf Goodman will have the worldwide exclusive on the collection when it lands in stores and online in October. 

“Happiness” sets the tone for what’s in store as the industry prepares for fashion week’s return in September with a Costume Institute exhibition—and highly anticipated Met Gala—that spotlights American fashion through the ages.

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