It felt like a giant game of chess at the finale of the latest Marc Jacobs show, when his regiment of statuesque and mightily striped models posed en masse on the massive triangular runway.
For, like chess this was a seriously cerebral fashion show, where a few simple ideas were repeated and refined recurrently in a striking technical display. Beginning with mega wide stripes, progressing to micro checks and climaxing with computer graphics and Art Deco panels, the looks had a linear development.
Jacobs had two extreme lengths - either sweeping the floor or at the top of the thigh. The first was precious, the latter suggestive. If the clothes recalled any era it was the Sixties - several Brits as they exited muttered Mary Quant - especially her striped upholstered auto, the Mini Quant, and her obsession with the mini dress.
Moreover, the most admired passage was a hyper mini cappuccino satin ruffled dress worn by London's It Model of the moment, Cara Delevingne.
There were seriously pared down clothes. Jacobs' program notes, especially in his night job as creative director of Louis Vuitton, have lengthy descriptions of each look. This season, the opening outfit was described as, "T-Shirt, Short," the ultimate passage as just "T-Shirt."
That's not to say that this show won't be influential. In a season of stripes - triple at Y-3, minimalist at Ohne Titel and railway engineer at Joseph Altuzarra - Jacobs was the most insistent. What set his collection apart was the manner in which he rifled through a whole series of Pop culture and historical styles - court coat, harlequin, Art Deco hostess and Target logo gal.
"Great clothes, loved them all," chirped Linda Fargo, Neiman Marcus fashion director exiting the show, staged in the Lexington Armory in downtown Manhattan on Monday, Sept. 10.
Tousled hair held by bows, steps restricted by the hyper lean cut, the models stepped out from the multi door backdrop at the finale, posing in a strict formation before chorographically spinning on their heels in unison to slide into the backstage. Beautiful pawns in a mammoth slinky board game.