Portrait by Peter Lindbergh
One of the small selection of designers who truly are household names, Marc Jacobs has deftly managed a career that spans both extraordinary commercial success with his eponymous brand and wide-spread critical acclaim with his creativity at Louis Vuitton where he was Creative Director for seventeen years. Famous for his often spectacular runway shows as well as his ability to pick up on the prevailing cultural zeitgeist, Marc now regularly tops Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world. Luckily he had a few minutes to chat to us about his thoughts on democratic retail and his love of social media.
What made you become a designer?
I think I was born one as I was making clothes as far back as I can remember.
What is your design DNA?
Its all about dressing up casual, mixing the high and the lows, mixing super casual pieces with others which are more couture - all of that inspired by streetwear and pop culture references.
Who is your hero? And how does that influence your work?
I get inspired by people around me and people from the streets. My summer collection is an interpretation of “twisted street wear”.
Why the decision to amalgamate Marc by Marc Jacobs into the main line?
We decided to streamline our collection to offer a unique positioning of a wider collection with different price points but inspired by one fashion show and one story to tell. It makes more sense nowadays and customers experience is enhanced knowing they can purchase a small fun bag or fall in love with a beautiful show dress, all in the same place.
Your shops are famously eclectic with a wide range of products at all price levels. What do you think this brings to the brand?
It brings a democratic aspect to the brand as anyone can find something suited for their needs and become part of the Marc Jacobs world.
Your last show was quite a strong statement about social media (with the audience walking past a ‘front row’ of models taking Instagram pictures). How has social media affected the way your company works?
It took me some time to get into the whole social media trance but now that I am into it I can’t get enough of it. It changes the way we perceive our world, the way we share ideas and information. We can each tell a story and have become actors of the world. In our industry, it is mostly positive as it helps to promote a brand and help people access fashion more easily and faster.
Your shows are often very theatrical and focussed. Do you design with the end presentation in mind or does it come at the end of the process simply as a way of highlighting the collection?
You would be surprised at how spontaneous my thinking process is. I have a feeling in mind and then do my best to try and translate that physically. And it is different every season.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Doing the same thing - what I love, surrounded by the best people.
Interview by Graham Addinall