On every guest's seat at Louis Vuitton was a single piece of paper with a quote from a famous Susan Sontag essay: "The relation between boredom and camp taste cannot be overestimated," it said. But if Marc Jacobs' Spring show bordered on camp, boring it wasn't—not with all the desirable party clothes he put on the catwalk. Backstage, with glitter all over his face (residue from a hug with Kristen McMenamy, whose torso was painted with black and white zebra stripes), Jacobs was talking about Art Deco, Art Nouveau, orientalism, and the first designer he ever worked for, Kansai Yamamoto. "Basically, I didn't want anything natural," he said. "I wanted everything overly stylized."
There wasn't one dull surface in the show. That goes for the faux marble runway and the gold and black fringed curtains, next to which were perched three giant taxidermic tigers. And it goes for the clothes: cheongsams swishing with fringe; a Lurex halter worn with an LV monogram lace skirt (with fan to match); metallic-shot dresses with sequin sashes from waist to hip; and animal-head sweaters—an homage to Kansai—picked out in sequins. As for the de rigueur bags, they were smaller than last season's Speedys, but hardly understated—especially those patent clutches with "Vuitton" embroidered in rhinestone block letters.
Not unlike his seventies-inflected signature show back in New York more than three weeks ago, this was a flat-out refusal of the minimalism that was all over last season's runways, his own included. (It might also have been a play for the burgeoning Far East market, although it's debatable that the aspirational Chinese customer wants to look like a "China Girl.") In any case, Jacobs these days does nothing by halves. If it was brazen in its decadence, this show was also a hell of a lot of fun.