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Is Marc Jacobs entering his mall goth era?

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No mom, it’s not a phase!

Skinny jeans, unless you are perhaps a music teacher or self-identify as a “metrosexual”, have long been absent from fashion’s vernacular. Over the past few years, trousers have slowly been edging further and further away from the body – and now, with a little help from Marc Jacobs, it would seem we have reached something of a wide leg zenith.

Brylcreeming his bouncy Anna Wintour bob back off his face and posing dramatically in front of the mirror, Jacobs has spent the past five days uploading a trifecta of generously cut denim to his Instagram. These aren’t the slouchy pants we’ve become accustomed to on the catwalk, however. These are the voluminous church bell trousers that part the crowds at Camden’s Cyberdog on a weekend – though the designer swapped out the staple metal-capped leather boots for his trademark Rick Owens platforms and kitschy pearl necklace, of course.

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First showingcasing two pairs of raw-hemmed, cropped styles, the pièce de résistance came when Jacobs slipped into a wildly overblown, debris-hoovering pair. All three came via Balenciaga, and marked a moment of true gentrification of the mall goth aesthetic, which has long been one of Demna Gvasalia’s counter-cultural reference points. Back in 2015, the designer drew comparisons to JNCO, the original purveyor of uber-wide rave jeans, for his take on the US brand’s iconic “phat pant” style. And this past Sunday (June 6) Balenciaga showed a similar pair of hem-tripping jeans within its SS22 collection – this time taking closer cues from Hot Topic’s Tripp pants – strewn with metal eyelets, faded 3D pockets, and flailing straps. 

There is, of course, a wider scene revival at play. Be it in the sugary pop-punk of Olivia Rodrigo, Willow Smith, or the Hadouken! energy of Virginie Viard’s latest Chanel collection, there is a harder edge to the Y2K resurgence about to bristle – a movement which has mostly centered on pastel Paris Hilton pinks and miniature accessories. Though, looking over the past few seasons of fashion, the writing was on the wall. Seedlings of a scene resurrection have sprouted from between the buckles of Loewe and Robert Wun’s hardware-heavy leather trousers, in Junya Watanabe’s ode to Soo Catwoman, and the punky tartan skirts that made an appearance across Molly Goddard, Celine, and Chopova Lowena.

Captioning his posts #bigjeanbigqueen, Jacobs’ elephant bells are heralding a slightly grungier, nu-metal flavour to the trend, which make sense, given that his youth-oriented line, Heaven, is basically every pop-punk TikToker’s mecca. Not that they necessarily know of its existence, though – they’re obviously far too busy being rude to millennials on Depop to have clocked.