Goodbye Marc Jacobs… Hello MBMJ!

I have been a Marc by Marc Jacobs fan for years. And honestly, who isn’t? Jacobs perfectly captures the joie de vivre and daring of young women in the looks he creates. But it is past tense now – created. Some recent standouts include the red checkered prints of spring 2013 and the peacock motif of spring 2011.
But now Jacobs is being replaced by Luella Bartley with co-designer Kate Hillier… and the name is being replaced as well by MBMJ. This name-change is probably due to a desire to make the brand name trendier and also to distance the collections from Marc Jacobs.
(Side note: What is up with all the name changes lately? MBMJ, Saint Laurent…)
Anyway, I greeted this news with apprehension. Marc by Marc Jacobs collections have always been important for me because they include the most clothing items I can wear and can afford without running the risk of bankruptcy. For me, wearability and innovation are key concepts to the brand. Marc Jacobs has always provided these, but will Bartley and Hillier do the same?…
To be honest, I am disappointed with Bartley and Hillier’s first MBMJ collection.
Their angle was evident: girl power! The skirts were loose and below the knee. The pants were loose as well and bunched into boots. Combine this with blazers cinched in by very (too) wide black leather – or what seems like leather – belts. All of this done in simple, professional colors. Here is an example:

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This was interspersed with the occasional plaid and one army green suit. To my horror, there were logos. Lots of them. Marc by Marc Jacobs did not have to rely on logos in the past so this represents a step back financially and stylishly. Here is a model transformed into a walking advertisement:

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A Marc by Marc Jacobs girl has the confidence to wear what she likes. She does not have to assert her choices with logos. She does not hide her figure behind mannish suits or, ironically, skirts. She is proud of the woman she is and wears what she wants! She makes everything her own and wears it proudly. That is the true essence of girl power and what Bartley and Hillier failed to capture in their collection.
The last two or three looks were my favorite. They were the ones that came closest to representing the Marc by Marc Jacobs girl. Here is one:

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The skirt, stereotypically feminine, is roughened by sharp pleats and the grey color. The shoes are pointy, highlighting her determination. And she wears a casual, loose sweater because she never tries too hard. In other words, effortlessly cool and chic.
Nonetheless, this collection does include some very wearable shirts and sweaters that will probably appear in my closet. The socks will almost certainly prove a big retail hit. The bags as well.
I do believe that Bartley and Hillier are capable of replacing Marc Jacobs (as proved by the last looks). It is a hard task but they will manage. By next season they will have improved their creative vision for the brand.
Hats off to them! It is hard work to replace a man like Jacobs.

xoxo,
Chiara

p.s. I would love to know what you think! Tell me in the comments below. ❤

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5 thoughts on “Goodbye Marc Jacobs… Hello MBMJ!

  1. Great review! My least favourite part of the collection was also the logos but they weren’t the focus of most pieces fortunately (there were a lot on those individual pieces admittedly) and I was a big fan of the rest. You’re right, it is different from Marc By Marc Jacobs past but I don’t feel like it’s a bad thing. I’m a fan of Bartley and Hillier and I think they make a great duo, I had high hopes for the collection and (logos aside) I wasn’t disappointed. I’m certainly partial to an oversized piece though and I love the girl power angle, I think it’s really strong and I like that it’s not classically girly but still feminine. (I wouldn’t do the sports shoes though, personally.) It ticked a lot of boxes for me and I am in love with this take on suits too. A one piece suit, yes please!

    1. Thank you! ❤
      Yes, Bartley and Hillier are definitely a promising design team and powerful duo. The first collections are always the hardest, especially when the brand has a core following. And I do agree – the suits were quite nice. I just wish they had been a bit more structured. But maybe they will be for retail (my closet and I hope so).

  2. hm… I looked at the collection and I have to say I saw some really great pieces. I guess my issue with the collection was just that the clothes were either grey, black and darker grey or looked like they were candy wrappers. i don’t think there’s any problem with imitating men’s clothing, I think the statement is more along the lines of “men are associated with power and so we’ll associate women with power (which they deserve) by dressing them in men’s clothing” then “women can only be powerful by imitating men”. I think the men’s clothing thing is symbolic. This also goes for the candy wrapper clothing btw: I don’t think the logos were as much for advertising as they were for making a statement even though I’m sure MBMJ needs some publicity. Then again, maybe I just listen too much in English class and see symbolic content everywhere.

    1. There was a TON of grey. I think they are gearing up for the 50 Shades of Grey movie. Maybe it comes out in F/W 2014-15? I could barely read the logo’s, one either said Grrr or Brrr, so didn’t really mind them. The sneakers were a bit big for my liking.

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