MARC JACOBS: „THE CLOTH LOSES ITS BRILLIANCE, IF IT ISN’T DRESSED BY THE RIGHT GIRL!”
He was born at 9th April 1963 in New York. In 1981 he receives his secondary education in design and fine arts, after that he studies in the elite New York College of design „Parsons”, where he graduates in 1984. Between 1984 and 1985 he is designer of book for fashion sketches for „Ruben Thomas Inc.”. Then he creates his first collection for this brand. During the next two years he manages his own company. From 1988 he is vice-president of fashion house „Perry Ellis” – lady’s line. He is chief designer of „Perry Ellis” from 1989 to 1993. In 1994 he registers brand at his name „Marc Jacobs”. His more accessible line of clothes is called „Marc from Marc Jacobs”. His first collection men’s clothes he presents in 1996 and the next year he opens his first boutique in the quarter Soho in New York. From 1998 till present he works permanently as creative director of the French fashion house „Louis Vuitton”. He is bearer of the award „Golden thimble” of the College „Parsons” – Perry Ellis (1984), of the Council of the fashion designers in America (1988). He is pronounced for designer of 1992 – lady’s fashion. The same award he receives from the Council of the fashion designers in America also for 1997 and in 1998 he receives the prize of VH – 1 (again for lady’s fashion). In 1999 the Council of the fashion designers in America bestows him the prize for the best designer of accessories for the year.
The presence of Marc Jacobs in the world fashion is so appreciably that it is just unthinkable to imagine two of the biggest fashion cultures – the French and the American, without him. He is a master of standing of the unique design, artist to the marrow of his bones and sworn innovator and adherent of the brave creative decisions. However this doesn’t disturb him to be creator of the grunge in the fashion, from one side, and perfect stylist in the empire of the luxury „Louis Vuitton” from the other. How Marc transforms in Jacobs? Accidentally or regularly is his falling in the fashion world? What are his leading aesthetical principles? Where from he obtains inspiration? What is the origin of his talent?....
The predestination is typical for many creators. Marc Jacobs isn’t an exception. By family reasons his destiny is to be in the artistic world, although it’s not about fashion, but of others traditional and influential arts, as the cinema and the theatre. His grandfather was a script-writer in „Metro Goldwyn Mayer” – Hollywood, his parents were agents in the biggest theatrical agency in the world and the agency itself was a property of his uncle. Marc himself as adolescent also works there, but as post courier. However this isn’t his best memory from his early years of forming of his character. As a schoolboy he has worked at the fashion „front”, although as a supplier of the boutique „Charivan”. His dreams, related with the design of clothes date still from his twenty-year old. His father dies very early, but permanent mark on the education and on the culture of Marc Jacobs rests his grandmother. The designer himself remembers her lessons at beauty and elegance. She often had taken him with herself, when she had walk round the big New York stores, as for example „Bloomingdale” at „Lexington Avenue” or „Bergdorf Goodman” and „Courreges”. The young Mark quite from an early age communicates with the world fashion standards, presented at the covers of the glossy magazines. Because still then he notices that the American magazines are made with less imagination from the European, pleases and even insists on his grandmother to buy him European lifestyle editions, among those „Vogue” and „Officiel”.
The future designer not only turns over the pages of the expensive magazines, but also draws sketches, models, illustrations. When his curiosity toward the fashion reaches to the moment he want to create clothes all alone, at help comes the tailor of his grandmother, who learns him at elementary skills in sewing and cut. For the first lessons in fashion Marc Jacobs remembers: ”Many primary skills about the fashion design I obtained from „Jerry Brown”, from where my grandmother had bought remains from expensive and fashion materials. To all intents this was the old school of fashion of my grandmother that was very useful for me to become what I am today”. His passion and his childish interest to the style Marc develops in the school at design and art that he finishes in his native New York. Later he enters in the prestigious college of fashion design „Parsons”, where he shows not only the usual application, but also creative impressive results.
„FOR ME YVES SAINT LAURENT IS NUMBER ONE!”
The future designer of the empire „Louis Vuitton” like other his colleagues start with the knitting. His first collection contains well-sewed sweaters and enjoys big success among the clients. Still as a student he starts to work for one of the most talented American designers – Perry Ellis, who unfortunately dies very young. Manifesting for this brand Marc Jacobs wins some awards, among those the most prestigious fashion award in USA – from the Council of the fashion designers in America.
When the style “grunge” appears in the pop music – as romantic echo of the British punk, Marc Jacobs is among the first, who start to interpret it in his collections, refreshing and diversifying in this way the quite vulgarized fashion scenery of the masters of ready-to-wear clothes. Like his idol Yves Saint Laurent in the distant 1963 creates collection, inspired by the beatnik subculture, Marc Jacobs obtains impulses from the clothing of the performers of grunge and he creates at the rough and disheveled laws of this rebellious style. Regarding Yves Saint Laurent, Marc is firm in his affirmation that just the French ace of the high fashion had mostly influenced him. What with more exactly? With his unusual fashion fantasy, with the mysteriousness and with the refinement of the fashion house itself, with the fact that he creates his wonderful works of art with many passion and inspiration. He likes the fact that Saint Laurent is wholly devoted to his art and is deeply submerged – emotionally and intellectually – in every one topic, in every one collection, in the separate cloth and even in the concrete detail. „For me Yves Saint Laurent is number one. What a magic and what a school for modernity! In my eyes he is the biggest designer of our time” – affirms with pathos Marc for his idol about ten years before his death. Maybe today this recognition is more categorical and authoritative.
THE DESIGN: SERIES OF CREATIVE CHOICES
To be understood adequately the fashion philosophy and the aesthetics of Marc Jacobs, it has to be rationalized his antinomy – at first sight contradiction and even some incompatibility of his professional realization. Once he is the different, the rebel, the innovator and the close to the street and to the underground designer, and twice – the manager of a famous in the whole world fashion house for luxurious suitcases and bags, for expensive and too expensive elegant clothes and supplements. Is it possible this? Yes, if – like it is in this case, to be in evidence serious resource of talent, flexibility and adaptive thinking. The designer himself affirms that for him it is comfortable to work in the fashion system, but that he looks at it from distance, just because he isn’t wholly a product of the fashion.
For Marc the fashion and the fashion design are organically related with the possibility to be made the right choice. His creative includes not only the final product, but also the process of the giving the birth of the idea, its realization, dynamics and finalization. He feels happiest when he meets some friend in the street who is dressed in his creative. The real award for his work is just that this stranger had chosen just the Marc’s creative. The big and the most important lesson from the fashion for Marc is that he has to be in the present and to enjoy the life here and now. It is very curious his definition of the fashion design. He thinks that: ”The design is series of creative choices. There are so many choices that man can make. I don’t know how the other people are, but for me this is very painful process, because it has to have sense in the choices”.
If you want to understand the soul of one designer, you have to show some interest what he inspires from mostly. The truth of this maxim appears in the work of Marc Jacobs. When he is invited to stand at the head of the design team of „Louis Vuitton” in Paris, he is already deep admirer of the great French fashion, because he realizes that it is at the same time caprice and original idea and that it brings satisfaction that can be expressed in different ways. Paris is the place, where unlocks to the highest degree the fantasy of Jacobs. He inspires as from the walks on foot or with a taxi, as from the eternal Paris symbol – the Eiffel Tower. But Paris is only one of the places that enthuses the designer. They don’t have to be undervalued nor do the youth culture, neither the famous Studio 54 in New York, neither the other places for amusement. In wrong way reason those people who think that it’s about elementary transfer of images, feelings and symbols from all these centers of inspiration. Marc Jacobs himself speaks openly of the sources of his inspiration: ”I love rock and roll, I like to do out, to visit parties and to have fun. When it’s about fashion, these things inspire me, but I strive not to reflect them smoothly in his creative and not to present stereotypes or their airy, affected version”. All these exciting places and ways of entertainment influence at the creator finely, delicately and leave mark in his spirit. Their interpreting is already a question of individuality, thrill and conception of the world for time and space, style and innovation. This refers also to the way he „paraphrases” the style hippy in his creative, and to the way he uses the eclectics and the patch-work as refreshing the style techniques and means of expression.
„THE INDIFFERENCE IS THE FACT THAT CAN HURT ME TO DEATH”
In the different periods of his activity Marc Jacobs demonstrates various techniques, skyline and coloristic decisions. In curious way he mixes the classic lady’s and men’s topic and accents to reproduce the fashion style. His women usually are bearers of the new business image – energetic and minimalistic, sports and softly negligee; they show the energy of the vital person of XXI century. What attract his attention in the image of one woman are first of all the shoulders and the head and then – her legs. The designer makes distinct difference between the fashion show and the clothes that are for right „consumption”, for immediate consumption. „Raising reality” and „fantasy” he calls his creative, destined for the fashion-show and together with this he deeply believes in the real life of the clothes. Life that starts after the show had already finished. An attempt to have both his feet on the ground is his thought: ”The cloth loses its brilliance, if it isn’t dressed by the right girl!”. These and other his conceptions for the design make us think of him as of poet and of dreamer, but as of clear-headed realist, who can’t not to take into consideration with the market and with the concretization of the fashion consumption.
Often in his collections flow gay tones, the silhouettes are multilayered, and among the accents distinguish bow-ties and stripes, printed materials and elements of the op-art. His analysts still remember how before years Jacobs embroidered winged phrases and aphorisms on the sweaters and on the coats in his collections. This is one treacherous act for man, who with smile and intractability ruins traditions and creates new. As man of the aesthetical excesses, logically he reaches the conclusion that the indifference is the fact that can hurt him to death. He bravely launches his new ideas, he doesn’t afraid of provoking of the audience and it’s like indifferent for him if it will make a declaration of love to him or of it will unleash its undisguised hatred. The one sense that can’t be forgiven and to be survived is the indifference, the neutral evaluation...
Who can express opinion in the best way on the quality and on the value of some cloth, of some style? The market, the time or the celebrities? Marc Jacobs is one of the favorite designers of the stars. His admirers are such Hollywood enchantresses like Winona Rider and Sofia Copola, Uma Thurman and Scarlett Johansson. With their fluids, talents and clearly feminine charms they fascinate Marc and stimulate him to create new and new lines, collections, clothing and complements. It is well-known that some of the bags, made by his design, bring just the names of these famous icons of the big screen.
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The style and the creative of Marc Jacobs show at least three things. First - the power of the contemporary design to a great extend is due to his relation with the real life, with the concrete man and women, with the natural prime sources of the fashion inspiration. Second – the original fashion is unthinkable and impossible without the youth subculture – without tendencies as hippy and grunge that with their freshness, rebelliousness and eclectics refresh and diversify the style of clothing. Third – one and the same fashion creator is able to work for the fashion system, for the empire of the luxury and together with this to keep his sense of difference, simplicity and provocativeness. As intercontinental masterpiece of the American pragmatic style and the European refined line, Marc Jacobs personifies one of the most interesting and influential tendencies in the today’s fashion design.
In the article are used the following sources: Ermilova, D.U. Istoria domov modu, Moscow, 2003; Marc Jacobs: „The fashion is caprice that brings satisfaction”. In „Fashion Lifestyle Magazine”, issue 14 from September 2008 http://www.fashion-lifestyle.net/interview_broi14 ; Marc Jacobs: one American at „Saint Germain Des Pres”, magazine „Paraleli”, issue 48, 2th – 8th December 1999 ; Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005; Martin, R.The St.James Fashion Encyclopedia:A Survey of Style from 1945 to the Present.Visible Ink Press. Detroit,1997; Seeling, Ch. Fashion. The century of the designer 1900 – 1999. Konёmann,2000,Cologne; Stegemeyer, A. Who`s Who in Fashion. Third edition. Capital Cities Media, Inc. Fairchild Publications, New York, 1996; http://www.fashionoffice.org/who/jacobs.htm ; http://www.freeinfosociety.com/article.php?id=367 and other publications in the Bulgarian and in the foreign press.
1. Marc Jacobs
Photo: © Duc Liao / Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005, р. 224;
2. Collection of Marc Jacobs, 1987.
Photo: © Stegemeyer, A. Who`s Who in Fashion. Third edition. Capital Cities Media, Inc. Fairchild Publications, New York, 1996, p. 109.
3. Marc Jacobs shows his collection for „Perry Ellis”, 1992.
Photo: © Stegemeyer, A. Who`s Who in Fashion. Third edition. Capital Cities Media, Inc. Fairchild Publications, New York, 1996, p. 109.
4. The contemporary business woman and her accessories – collection of Marc Jacobs for „Louis Vuitton”, autumn-winter 1998-1999
Photo: © Seeling, Ch. Fashion. The century of the designer 1900 – 1999. Konёmann, 2000, р. 553.
5. In his collections in the 90s Marc Jacobs interprets the spirit of the 50s and the 60s.
Photo: © Seeling, Ch. Fashion. The century of the designer 1900 – 1999. Konёmann, 2000, р. 600.
6. Collection of Marc Jacobs from the 90s.
Photo: © Seeling, Ch. Fashion. The century of the designer 1900 – 1999. Konёmann, 2000, р. 601.
7. Marc Jacobs for „Louis Vuitton”
Photo: © Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005, р. 225.
8. Collection of Marc Jacobs, October 2000.
Photo: © Anete Aurell / Styling by Annett Monheim / Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005, р. 227.
9. Collection of Marc Jacobs for „Marc”, July 2001.
Photo: © Greg Lotus / Styling by Patti Wilson / Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005, р. 226.
10. Collection of Marc Jacobs, October 2001.
Photo: © Ellen Stagg / Styling by Karen Levitt / Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005, р. 229.
11. Collection of Marc Jacobs for „Marc”, August 2001.
Photo: © Vanina Sorrenti / Styling by Soraya Dayani / Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005, р. 231.
12. Collection of Marc Jacobs for „Louis Vuitton”, March 2002.
Photo: © Willy Vanderperre / Styling by Oliver Rizzo / Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005, р. 230.
13. Collection of Marc Jacobs for „Louis Vuitton”, October 2002.
Photo: © Tesh / Styling by Edward Enninful / Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005, р. 228.
14. and 15. Collection of Marc Jacobs, 2003.
Photo: © Amantha Morton photographed by Juergen Teller. In: “Vogue” (USA), August 2003.
16. and 17 . Collection of Marc Jacobs, 2005.
Photo: © Cindy Sherman photographed by Juergen Teller. In: “Vogue” (USA), February 2005.
18. Advertising of Marc Jacobs for „Nordstrom”, 2006.
Photo: © “Vogue” (USA), August 2006.
19. and 20. Marc Jacobs for „Marc”, 2008.
Photo: © “Vogue” (Paris), Mars 2008.
21. and 22. Collection of Marc Jacobs, autumn-winter 2008 – 2009
Photo: © Marcio Madeira / www.style.com
23. and 24. Collection of Marc Jacobs for „Marc”, spring-summer 2009
Photo: © Marcio Madeira / www.style.com
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