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PARIS Spring 2004

Renowned quick change artist Marc Jacobs is at it again: the overly costumey and jarring homage to the Courreges 60's- which defined his Fall/Winter 2003 collection (and which is not performing well at retail)- has vanished into the night. Gone are the loud clashing Howard Johnson-like colors, highly structured and graphic shapes, thigh- high minis, colored tights, and wigs. But not to worry, Marc is still drawing on vintage for his inspiration- only this time it's more about the flapper 20's (having many fashion insiders conjuring up images of Theda Bara), and the 80's- owing to a looser, slightly rumpled and creased silhouette, and the easier, softer color palette that relies on slightly dusty pastels and neutrals.

The best aspect of the collection was the interesting and non- literal mix of decades and moods, which resulted in an overall effect that was non- chalant and un-self conscious. It all seemed haphazardly put together by a hip young girl with her own eclectic sense of style (even though we know it was hardly haphazard). Standouts included the deconstructed denim tweed shrunken coat that was shown with a soft pale wallpaper floral bias cut midcalf dress, an antique gold trench (that appears to have been machine washed) worn with baggy cadet blue cropped pleated trousers; the slouchy pantsuits from the 80's which featured pleated cuffed pants (remember those?), shrunken off white tuxedo jackets, and the lingerie slip dresses in pale pink and aqua. Softened- up and romantic accessories included the oversized fabric flowers pinned onto shoulders, and frayed grosgrain ribbons that were used to softly belt jackets (a definite trend on the runways).