Fashion and technology have been in collaboration since the latter’s very beginning. From the sewing machine to the FitBit, e-commerce to smart fabrics and lab-grown leather, technology improves how we make fashion and expands the limits of what society believes fashion to be.
Leave it to Marc Jacobs to take this pattern and run with it. Case in point, the designer’s Spring/Summer 2015 runway show, for which audience members were equipped with Beats by Dre headphones, giving each individual onlooker their own immersive, personal experience. Through the headphones played a monotone voice narrating an everyday scene while background sounds added support to the picture. The audio, made by Jacobs and producer Steve Mackey, was based on John Smith’s 1976 short film, The Girl Chewing Gum. Fittingly, the set was bubblegum pink, with pink shag carpet and a pink house commissioned for the show. There is a cheeky connection between the set and the audio, but neither prepared audience members for the contents of the show to come.
In contrast to the show’s vibrant set, the collection employed a primarily muted color pallet, favoring nudes, camels, deep blues, and army greens. Inspired by uniforms and the modernist notion of collective uniformity, each model walked the runway sans make-up, and wearing identically un-kept, shaggy black bobs. Military, too, was a clear source of inspiration: military jackets, cinched grandma dresses, and cargo pants all detailed with large pockets and shiny buttons.
Silhouettes ranged from sporty to conservative, and flirty to shy schoolgirl modesty, with accessories to match; from utility messenger bags and backpacks, to sleek, ladylike alligator purses. Slip-on sandals were prominent throughout the collection, as was an underlying story of personalization, hidden within details that became more prominent as the show went on – eyelets became pronounced bumps, varying in size and forming intricate patterns, pockets got bigger and bolder, and patches in varying colors were added to hemlines.
There was a clear message in Jacobs’ spring/summer 2015 show about fashion as a form of personalization and its otherwise rejection of uniformity. In making the collection’s ensembles increasingly unique as the show progressed, Jacobs subverts the intention of the uniform — anonymity. Nonetheless, the season’s “feminine utility” aesthetic remains incredibly wearable and equally desirable.