Larocca on the Marc Jacobs Collection: Purely Sublime

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Photo: Stan Honda/AFP

The Marc Jacobs show tonight was, in a word, sublime.

It all began when Jacobs (looking smart as could be in a trim black trouser suit) and Robert Duffy ripped away the brown paper covering a simple stage at the end of the runway, revealing a tableau of models elegantly dressed in a palette of neutral colors and demure shapes. In recent seasons, Jacobs has dazzled with his ability to pile on — no one can layer like Jacobs can layer, and he spent a few seasons proving it, which of course means that it's time to change the conversation once again. Part of what makes Jacobs so thrilling is that he never gets stuck on an idea for too long. His collections react to and build on one another, so following his experiments with acid colors and narrow silhouettes, he produced a clean, pure collection of tweedy librarian skirts and embellished cashmere sweaters. There were simple pieces to lust over: the ideal peacoat, for example, in navy-blue wool, and longer coats, too, buttoned up and finished with curly Mongolian lamb. (And on the subject of coats, there were dove-gray shearlings, and a few clear plastic raincoats shimmered magically from within.)

One of Jacobs's great tricks is the ability to make evening dresses look cool, and he did that tonight, throwing a great big fisherman sweater over a floor-length dress, and a trim fur vest over a glittering gown cut on the bias. If there is a movie star out there brave enough to forgo the now-standard red carpet shellacking, here are some options. (Exciting, then, that Sofia Coppola has just finished a new film.) Was it just last season that his models each got a beehive madder than the one before? Tonight the hair was brushed straight and clean, and anklets were worn with kitten-heeled shoes. Easy to walk in, plenty to wear.

See a slideshow of the whole Marc Jacobs collection.