Fashion Week: Mod Madness at Marc Jacobs

The designer starts his own Youthquake

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages
Designer Marc Jacobs during the Spring/Summer 2013 fashion week in New York on September 10th, 2012.
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Back in February, when Rolling Stone met fashionable R&B newcomer Phlo Finister, she said her chosen aesthetic was an updated homage to the "Youthquaker" movement, the British mod look of the Sixties favored by bright young things like Twiggy, Penelope Tree and Peggy Moffitt. Seems like she and Marc Jacobs would get along: his Spring 2013 collection hit those notes very acutely.

After his picaresque pilgrim theme last season, Jacobs dialed things way back to a refreshingly simple standard: youthful, graphic and, of course, musically clued-in. As the Fall's terrifically shambolic "Copped It" droned over the speakers of the Armory in New York, bare-legged models stalked out in t-shirts, pantsuits and midi skirts lined in simple stripes – an all-girl army, clean and lean with pixie cuts and eyes heavily lined in mascara. Miraculously, despite the difficulty of some of these designs' cuts – boxy and below the knees – the looks steered safely away from dowdy territory. In an age where too many designers rely on patterns for distraction, here the chevron prints and endless Beetlejuice bars made the show as cool as it needed to be, especially when mirrored to dizzying effect in its epic finale.

Advocates of Gwen Stefani's houndstooth obsession will adore the divisive print's inclusion here; on a more sinister note, you can also imagine that A Clockwork Orange's droogs would delight in the prevalance of sharp white-and-black graphics. There was an op-art quality to many of the looks, with many noting British artist Bridget Riley's visible influence here. While everyone will call this collection Marc's "mod" one, it also transcends its obvious debts to the Sixties through proportion play and hidden surprises in the garments' construction – a daring slit here, a row of sequins reinforced there. It feels like a collection Andy Warhol would have loved, and also one bound to find itself worn by a multitude of contemporary musical muses.