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Marc by Marc Jacobs drops hems again

NEW YORK (AP) — Pull down those hemlines, girls.

For his younger, less expensive diffusion line, Marc Jacobs eschewed the bubbliness of past collections to deliver a ladylike silhouette and proper gentlemen's suiting at the Lexington Avenue Armory on a snowy Tuesday afternoon.

It was the designer's second show of the week to mark a dramatic about-face, as his namesake line shown Monday also dropped hems and buttoned up. Perhaps with the Great Recession moving on, Jacobs was echoing the historical change in attitudes and fashion that followed the Great Depression.

The designer, arguably the most influential in the country, took a page from the 1940s for Marc by Marc Jacobs. A palette of red, black and olive echoed military themes as models marched along sternly in knit separates and jackets. Tops featured ballooned sleeves and collar ties of secretaries past, and culottes ensembles were paired with flat leather wingtips.

A model in a velvet dress, printed in a gold and black peony pattern, strode down the runway in low-heeled navy Mary Jane shoes. A black lace jacket and a black faille knee-length skirt were perfect for high tea with Grandma.

More than the collection's sobriety, most surprising was the length of dresses and skirts, all of which grazed kneecaps. Only a pair of black bloomers hit well above fingertips' reach. It was a startling contrast to recent collections in which Jacobs drew upon primary colors, summer camp references and even belts made of Lego blocks.

If Jacobs felt he was being too serious with his younger clientele, he lightened the mood with one-piece black-and-blue striped long johns and striped socks — an ideal outfit for a model's prison break. It was fun, but it would be criminal if Jacobs stays serious for too long.