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