(photo: Fernanda Calfata)
Besides the clothes, accessories, fragrances and just the man himself, after hearing Marc Jacobs at the 92Y this past Wednesday, I left loving him even more. Part of the Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis series, Marc’s raw honesty, enthusiasm + ‘exaggerated’ humility (like dropping the names of his nutritionist, psychiatrist, tattoo artist + gym since credit is given where credit is due) in answering Mallis’s questions seemed to give you some real insight into Marc Jacobs the designer + the brand or at least I’d like to think so.
With business partner Robert Duffy, always there to make sure Marc makes the right decisions, Marc was able to take the fashion world by storm yet not without a few hiccups. When Fern asked him about telling Mr. Bernard Arnault (Chairman + CEO, LVMH) he needed to go to rehab and how he did it, he nonchalantly said he was very direct, with no apology, as his demons were so transparent. When asked what helped him stop smoking, Marc answered needlepoint (of course), which was taught by his grandmother. Coincidentally, his grandmother also helped him knit sweaters for his Op-Art graduate collection at Parsons. Another habit he admitted to was how much he loves attention (+ who doesn’t), even when your life is played out for you + everyone else, on Page Six like his broken engagement to Lorenzo Martone to which Marc commented how he asked him then changed his mind, that simple. They are still friends + he’s very much in love with new beau, Harry Louis. – as they say, any press is good press.
When discussing Louis Vuitton‘s artist collaborations, the inspiration behind the initial concept was interesting. For his first LV collection, he drew inspiration from LV’s archives in the form of a plain grey trunk, which back then, the monogram was on the inside while the outside was solid. This resulted in a minimalist collection which was ill-received as everyone kept mentioning ‘the monogram, the monogram, where is the monogram?’ Then he thought back to is childhood and remembered wanting a Lacoste shirt so badly simply because of the alligator and Ray Ban’s because they were Ray Ban’s – he realized then how crucial the monogram was to his designs as it stood for, luxury, class and money, something most people want, crave or already have. Although Louis Vuitton was a successful company in it’s own right, Marc sought to reinvigorate the brand his way.
Again he thought of the brand and the importance of the monogram and of all people, Marcel Duchamp came to mind as his inspiration, specifically his work entitled ’L.H.O.O.Q’ (which roughly translates to ‘She has a hot ass.’ since the letters when spoken in French form the sentence ”Elle a chaud au cul”),
where Duchamp draws a moustache on the ‘Mona Lisa’ – deface something iconic with some humor and wit. From this, four successful capsule collections (comprised of clothing, shoes + accessories) evolved with the collaboration of famous artists including
Stephen Sprouse, Richard Prince (top), Takashi Murakami + recently, Yayoi Kusama (bottom). I’m sure the fact that Marc already loved the work by these artists, collaborating with them must’ve been fun but also frustrating. Then Marc raised a valid point in how much cheaper it is for someone to own a LV anything reinterpretation by either of these artists as opposed to one of their paintings, sculptures or any other medium. Yet, when it comes to reinterpretations, the funniest was the one related to Victoria Beckham – After Marc saw a pic of her on a magazine cover with a fake LV bag, he sent her a real one – now, they’re friends.
When asked what he thought about what critics had to say, Marc only cares when it’s someone he respects. Of his 33 tattoos (which were done by his tattoo artist friend, Scott Campbell), Fern wanted to know what was up with all the cartoon tattoos including Spongebob Squarepants and Marc replied, ‘Kids seem to like them at the beach.’ On the ‘PERFECT’ tattoo on his right wrist, it came from ‘I am a perfect being in a perfect world where everything that happens benefits me completely,’ which he learned in rehab. ‘I thought it was a very good way of letting go and saying, ‘Things may not go the way I want them to but I’m happy with things and everything is where it is supposed to be.’ But ‘perfect’ best described his life (but emphasized he’s by no means perfect, no one is) especially his new found sobriety and healthy, fit lifestyle. Which brings me to how Marc became so toned + healthy thanks to friend Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth whom suggested he see a nutritionist who then had him eating dirt, styrofoam and liquid chlorophyll – not really, but that’s how bad it sounded. He couldn’t eat anything with flavor including sugar from fruits which made the audience gasp – I guess a diet that disallows eating fruit is very terrifying to most.
Regarding upcoming projects, a new fragrance called ‘Dot’ is to hit stores in July while his cosmetics line with Sephora is due to drop sometime around Fall 2013.
When you look at this picture, it’s kinda crazy he’s almost 50. Fern finally asked Marc what he had on his bucket list (which Fern had to explain) and he replied, ‘Have more sex. Eat more food. Go to the gym more often. Do more collections. Have a manicure. Buy more art. See more art.” As Iris Apfel always says, ‘Less is a bore.’
In the end, Marc Jacobs is proof that it doesn’t matter how you fall down but how you get up.