Marc Jacobs Spring 2017 Show’s Dreadlocks Backslash

Thursday September 15th 2016 – Manhattan Theater

A Marc Jacobs show always catches the attention. This time, the American designer has struck again with seventies and romanticism silhouettes remixed with a manga touch.

The hoodie Seen at Tommy Hilfiger or at the Yeezy show, shows up at Marc Jacobs decorated with patches, designed in collaboration with the artist Julie Verhoeven. The british illustrator has worked with Jacobs on his Louis Vuitton Spring Summer 2002 show.

The collection counts Snake coats, see through laces mini dress, metallic cigarette pants, sequins embroidered bags but there were also some familiar pieces like the khaki green jackets, that have very similar designs to marc by marc jacobs 2002 / 2003 era.

But the buzz was not about the clothes it was about the multicolored dreadlocks created by Jena Counts and styled by Guido Palau that the girls were sporting.

In a pastel variation of colors, these dreadlocks hairstyle evolved as the looks came out, matching remarkably most of the time the outfits.

Done in a playful artistic way, it didn’t prevent people to attack Marc Jacobs accusing him of cultural appropriation. When asked about the inspiration Jacobs and Palau talked about the street, Boy George, without referring to black culture.

Jacobs defended himself at first saying that he sees people, not race.

“[To] all who cry ‘cultural appropriation’ or whatever nonsense about any race or skin color wearing their hair in any particular style or manner – funny how you don’t criticize women of color for straightening their hair,” the designer said.

“I respect and am inspired by people and how they look. I don’t see color or race – I see people. I’m sorry to read that so many people are so narrow minded … Love is the answer. Appreciation of all and inspiration from anywhere is a beautiful thing. Think about it,” he wrote on his instagram.

he Then issued an apology.

“I have read all your comments … and I thank you for expressing your feelings. I apologize for the lack of sensitivity unintentionally expressed by my brevity. I wholeheartedly believe in freedom of speech and freedom to express oneself though art, clothes, words, hair, music…EVERYTHING.
Of course I do “see” color but I DO NOT discriminate. THAT IS A FACT!”

“Please continue to express your feelings freely but do it kindly. Nothing is gained from spreading hate by name calling and bullying.”

But the issue is a cultural problem, race discrimination and inequalities are a reality in America which make people even more sensitive. In October 2009 When Jacobs decided to have the girls wearing afro wigs at his Louis Vuitton Spring Summer 2010 show in Paris, referencing Japanese Manga travelers no one barked at him.

Comics in France for example, have at multiple occasions and in recent years painted their faces in black for stand up comedy without receiving any backlash.

The word in the street is that the MJ business is not what it used to be, with rumors that LVMH wants to sell the Marc Jacobs brand. LVMH then denied the report. The designer only own 2 % of his company, as well as Robert Duffy.

After the show even before the backlash, the tension was already palpable as journalist were denied any interview with Jacobs.

Shop Marc Jacobs via NET-A-PORTER.COM

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Photos courtesy of
Hair by Guido Palau for Redken
Makeup by Francois Nars for Nars Cosmetics


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