Show goers looking for clues upon entering Marc Jacobs’s venue this evening, the Park Avenue Armory, were struck but the dense red of the designer’s theatrical set. At the back, it featured an opulent backdrop of Diana Vreeland’s Billy Baldwin-decorated apartment; the plush welcoming sofa, printed scattered cushions, draped curtains, wall lamps and mirrors – the lot.

Erin O’Connor opened the show, dressed in a rigorously tailored checked shift embellished in bands of black bugle beads, and with elbow length gloves. There was a lot of masculine tailored fabric here, but mixed back with the flight and fancy of sequins and ultra feminine silhouettes – full skirts, nipped waists, fur stoles, ladylike bags. What followed was more and more opulent, from the embellished twin sets to a degrade sequin-dipped cape, to a series of brocade full skirts, fiercely pleated and topped with jackets cinched with knotted skinny leather belts.

The undeniable sinister edge was mostly derived from the combination of the screeching scratching string soundtrack – uncomfortably grating – and the ugly hair and make up; Jacobs’s models wore tightest top knots and their faces were powdered pale with sunken shadowed eyes and lips painted in deepest darkest plum – it was haunting – and quite shocking to the eye given that for the last 10 days, every other show in New York has favoured ‘pretty’: clean loose hair, and a no-make-up-make-up look.

Those signature Jacobs double breasted fit-and-flare coats with oversized buttons popped up in brocades with leopard print pony lapels. Everything was so rich in texture and components that it made for fantastic viewing. It was dense and layered, and came with utter conviction. This was Jacobs at his best and a collection that needs to be viewed up close in a store in order to see the goings on in just one piece – or better still, right there hanging in one’s very own wardrobe.

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