The late singer's presence is felt in the styling at the designer's show Thursday

By Kate Hogan
September 16, 2011 07:30 PM

Peter Michael Dills/Getty (3)

At 8:30 p.m. Thursday, when the final show of New York Fashion Week was set to begin, hundreds of top fashionistas filed into their seats as Sofia Coppola and Dakota Fanning slipped into their spots in the front row. A glimmering gold curtain covered the stage at the 69th Regiment Armory, while a wall of thick wooden beams sprinkled with light bulbs cut down the center of the runway. It was Marc Jacobs time.

“I’ve been to every show [of his] for the last three years,” stylist Brad Goreski told PEOPLE before the lights dimmed. “The choreography is always so amazing, aside from the clothes. It’s a fully realized vision — the hair, the makeup. It sets the direction for everyone else. I’m always happy to have Marc Jacobs on my [clothing] rack.”

Fanning, the face of Jacobs’s latest fragrance, Oh, Lola!, echoed Goreski’s sentiments. “I love that his work is so diverse,” she explained. “He creates everything you see — a piece of clothing or a bag — you automatically know Marc made it. He has such a specific style, but he recreates it in so many different ways.”

The curtain opened to reveal 45 models, frozen in place on wooden chairs, ties in their hair, sporting heavy eye makeup. As Philip Glass’s “Einstein on the Beach” played, a few models at a time would get up and walk the runway; however, the whole show was over in just mere minutes.

“I thought it was gorgeous,” Fanning raved afterward. “So beautiful. Amazing. I’m still thinking about it.” Added Coppola, “I had no idea what to expect. It was kind of Bob Fosse-like. It felt like a lot of different times mixed together. The fabrics were really interesting, really sparkly and light.”

According to a Marc Jacobs source, the clothes were inspired in part by Amy Winehouse‘s passing. “He felt like it affected him,” the source told PEOPLE. “[You could see it] a little bit in the hair and the eye.”

The show itself, which Rachel Zoe also attended, was supposed to evoke a “hot southern cabaret,” the source added. “A dance hall where you pay for girls to dance, but there is no one paying, so they kind of wait there for their big minute.”

Regardless of the theme, the collection itself earned raves from editors at WWD and, and Jacobs — rumored to be taking over at Christian Dior in the wake of John Galliano’s departure — closed New York Fashion Week on a high note.

–Jeffrey Slonim