- Associated Press - Monday, September 13, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - So, a lot of designers have disco danced around a 1970s muse at New York Fashion Week with those billowy shapes, scarf-tied tops, gold lame and long, flared trousers, but Marc Jacobs, probably the most influential fashion force in New York, is the only one who fully asked her to dance.

He had those looks and more, including jumpsuits, hot pants, culottes and those tight striped knits popular when many of the editors, stylists and retailers in the audience at the Lexington Avenue Armory were probably in grade school.

The retro vibe was amplified by frizzed-out hair, metallic sparkle eye shadow, floppy hats and giant, oversized flowers in the hair, around the neck or on thick, cinching belts. Nevermind the piano music coming through the speakers.

“It was very ‘70s with a little bit of Lady Gaga,” observed Joanna Coles, editor in chief of Marie Claire. “Marc was not the first designer to make this reference, but his was a very frenetic, floral, colorful and tropical collection that was also very dark. … The whole styling of the show was dark and slightly frightening and a little doll-like.”

Coles said Jacobs is particularly in tune with pop culture and he could feel the push-pull of optimism with toxicity, saying there was an underlying anxiety to the whole show.

“There was a sort of innocence to the ‘70s when you were actually in them, but this is darker.”

The palette, however, had a tropical feel _ it is for spring, after all _ with one top covered in palm-tree beading. The colors included purple, orange and hot pink, all of which are showing staying power through this round of style previews. For good, glitzy measure, there were silver and gold sequins, even on some platform sandals.

But not even Jacobs could fully ignore black, a fashion-editor favorite, sending out a black beaded bandeau bikini. And he wore a black button-down shirt and black pants for his own bow.

The designer, once famous for starting his fashion shows hours late, has trained most of his audience to now get there early so they’ll be seated when he starts a few minutes before the appointed time. For this show, however, the building wasn’t open to most guests until just 15 minutes until the lights dimmed. Some models quite literally started walking while assistants with headsets were still on the runway.

And, by the way, no model can take full credit for being the first or last on Jacobs‘ catwalk _ a coveted spot: The set was built as a round sculpture with a half-dozen models making the circle at any given time.