When Marc Jacobs first stepped onto the fashion scene a couple of decades ago, he did not look the part of a high end fashion designer. Instead, he looked more like a nerdy college boy with his long, shaggy hair, pasty pale skin, baggy, not-too-stylish clothing, and glasses with large, clear, plastic frames to boot.
Fast forward to today in 2009, when Marc Jacobs' impressive resumé includes a tenure at Parsons, where he received several of the school's highest honors and awards, VP of women's fashion at Perry Ellis, creative director at Louis Vuitton where he has remained since 1997 and is credited for creating their first prêt-à-porter and jewelry line, and the launch of his own line of Marc Jacobs fashion, and later, Marc By Marc Jacobs, a diffusion line, with over 100 stand alone stores worldwide, as well as the fact that Marc Jacobs has become a household name that is synonymous with designer fashion.
Quirky is the term that I like to use to describe Marc Jacobs and his designs, and though he may have ditched his dorky, personal style for something more polished and refined in recent years, he, and his designs, still remain quirky. Though a Marc Jacobs runway shows look spectacular when the models are extravagantly made up and styled, his prêt-à-porter line, when seen in his ads and in stores, actually look quite simple and demure. Marc Jacobs' pieces seem to draw from the trends of decades past that have been ingeniously reinvented, including granny cardigans and 60's retro jackets and dresses, to 80's prom dresses and space age jackets.
None of Marc Jacobs' designs have ever immediately made my jaw drop in the way that Versace and Galliano do. Instead, his designs are moreso mysterious, and subtly stylish and sexy. I came to this revelation a few years ago when I was trying to figure out what all the hype behind Marc Jacobs was, and this realization was confirmed when I read a 2005 interview in which he described his designs as "more pscyhological", and that "for people that don't have any interest in the psychology of nuance, who need everything to be in their face, who don't want to analyze [...] Those aren't the people I romanticize about dressing".
Quirky designs aside, Marc Jacobs' ad campaigns are quirky, as well. Enlisting the help of German photographer Juergen Teller and a slew of unlikely models, including child actress Dakota Fanning, White Stripes drummer Meg White, and director Sophia Coppola, Marc Jacobs ads that would have made any of my photography teachers cringe were created, using the technique of auto-focus and camera flash to create these overexposed, desaturated, raw, awkward prints. Yet, they work.
Besides his runway shows headlining at Fashion Weeks all around the world, Marc Jacobs' personal life and business dealings have also made headlines and have been tabloid fodder for the past few years, unlike most fashion designers. Be it his hook up and break up with model Jason Preston, his engagement to advertising executive Lorenzo Martone, his nude photo spreads, his stint in rehab, allegations of plagiarism, the fact that he bribed someone for better event locations, or that he dressed up as a pig, and a camel toe, for his annual holiday party, the public and media seem to be fascinated by his life and there is always some newspaper or fashion blog waiting to cover his story.
For an industry that has become so overtly sex-hyped, Marc Jacobs is really refreshing to the fashion world. Who knew that this nerdy looking boy would eventually become one of the world's most influential fashion designers?
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About the reviewer
When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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Marc Jacobs (born April 9, 1963) is an American fashion designer from New York City. He attended Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. In 1986, Jacobs created his Marc Jacobs clothing line. In 1988, he became the vice president of womens wear at Perry Ellis. In 1997, he became creative director of Louis Vuitton, where he remains today. In 2001, Marc By Marc Jacobs, a diffusion line, was launched. There are over 100 Marc Jacobs, and Marc By Marc Jacobs boutiques worldwide.