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Fashion / Style File

The Fashion Week of Little Skin Shows That Sexual Imagery Doesn’t Fit in This #MeToo Moment

Marc Jacobs Closes the Show With a Covered-Up 1980s Blast

BY // 03.19.18

NEW YORK  — In recent years,  Marc Jacobs has always closed New York Fashion Week and there’s a good reason why. It’s as if the fashion gods have saved the best for last. Although his looks are not always the most wearable, Jacobs constantly elevates the discussion of what fashion should be and dictates the trends that other designers scurry to follow.

This time around, Jacobs caught the wave of the 1980s, a trend that Tom Ford championed on the first day of New York Fashion Week with a riotous collection of skin-tight leggings, sequined animal print jackets, and roomy faux fur coats, and that later appeared in big-shouldered power looks at various designer shows in Milan and Paris.

But Jacobs’ view is more sedate, with toned-down colors and models swathed in fabric of oversized proportions topped with wide-brimmed gaucho hats. Coats have shoulder the size of a linebackers — think David Byrne-like in the 1983 concert film Stop Making Sense — while taffeta and silk rosettes and gigantic bows mask most of each model’s figure, along with loose-fitting leather pants, mid-calf skirts, puffy-shouldered long-sleeve blouses, and oversized sweaters.

There’s not a hint of skin until nearly the end of the collection, when a few models in evening wear reveal a bare shoulder or plunging neckline. But that’s the exception rather than the rule in this collection, indicating that perhaps Jacobs is on to something.

By and large, designers in New York and abroad are featuring more covered-up collections for fall. In my 15 years or so of attending fashion week, I don’t recall a season that showed less skin. At a time when women are questioning the power structure in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, it seems like the the fashion world is figuring out new ways to define what looks good and are shying away from overt sexual imagery.

Or perhaps because of the mood of the world right now, designers are betting that shoppers will find solace in looks that emphasize cocooning over clingy.

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