April 9, 1963– Marc Jacobs was born in NYC, the son of a pair of theatrical agents. He was raised in the Majestic on Central Park West, one of my favorite buildings in Manhattan, by his grandmother who taught him how to knit. She also had the charming habit of telling shop owners that her grandson would someday be “the next Calvin”. She was right. Like Calvin Klein, Jacobs would grow-up to be noted for his youthful American sportswear presented to the public in provocative advertisements. Unlike Klein, whose designs embraced a new, clean, classic minimalism, Jacobs’ work looked forward with a nod to what was happening on the streets.
Jacobs spent his formative years shuttling between school and Studio 54. After his graduation from the High School of Art And Design, he entered Parsons School Of Design, where in his senior year, he created a collection of hand knit sweaters (made by his grandmother) which won him the Perry Ellis Golden Thimble Award.
After graduating, he designed under his own label, creating an irreverent homage to 1960’s hippie clothing. Now he designs smart clothing using rich materials for very rich people.
While still in school, Jacobs won Design Student Of The Year 1984 from Parsons. Since those early years Jacobs has won awards, awards and more awards, including: Perry Ellis Award For New Fashion Talent, the highest tribute possible in the American fashion world, and Women’s Wear Designer Of The Year by the CFDA.
That same year, a 21 year old Jacobs met 30 year old Robert Duffy, who became his business partner and BFF. With Duffy as Jacobs’s creative collaborator, and business partner, they formed Jacobs Duffy Designs Inc.
In spring 1992, Jacobs, working for Perry Ellis, famously showed his “Grunge Collection”, not understanding that the Seattle music scene’s look was anathema to fashion. Punk had been anti-fashion, but Grunge was no fashion at all. Besides, Grunge was already becoming something else. I know. I lived in Seattle in the 1990s and by the time that I had gathered my flannel shirts from the Goodwill bins, it was over. Jacobs took some hard knocks in the press and from the industry. Kurt Cobain was photographed wearing a black T-shirt that read “Grunge Is Dead”. Courtney Love:
“Marc sent me and Kurt his Perry Ellis grunge collection. Do you know what we did with it? We burned it.”
Jacobs was very publicly fired from Perry Ellis. In 1993, he launched his own line, this time with real success. His clothing still carries a rock vibe. Jacobs Duffy Designs launched their own licensing and design company: Marc Jacobs International Company. In 1994, Jacobs produced his first full collection of menswear. In 1997, Jacobs was appointed creative director of the venerable Louis Vuitton, where he created that company’s first ready-to-wear clothing line. Jacobs has collaborated with many popular artists for his Louis Vuitton collections, including Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami and Kanye West.
In the fall of 2013, Jacob left his position as creative director for Louis Vuitton after 15 years. Marc Jacobs International announced that it would spend the next three years preparing for an IPO. A new line of cosmetics was launched. A new CEO was installed. New designers were hired to reinvent Marc By Marc Jacobs, which was started in 2001 as a less expensive alternative to his women’s wear line.
In Spring 2014, Marc By Marc Jacobs folded. Jacobs then joined Instagram, even after he had announced that he was appalled by the whole social media thing.
Jacobs had been involved romantically with some hot Brazilian who was identified as a “chocolatier”, but who might be a porn star, the terms are interchangeable to me, but most certainly he has not had a Brazilian wax. My sources tell me that Jacobs is currently single, although I used to follow him on Twitter where he posted photographs of the dude, along with his very cute dog, Neville, on a Caribbean beach early this year. Now I follow Neville on Twitter and Instagram. I like dogs more than people.
In 2014, Jacobs paid just over $2 million for an Ed Ruscha piece at auction, so I suppose he is doing alright.
Today, Marc is the head designer of Marc Jacobs, which absorbed the items and price points formerly available at Marc By Marc Jacobs, and he also serves as the creative director of Marc Jacobs International in its entirety.
He has never had more control over himself, his body, the way he lives his life or presents his brand. When he was 47-years-old, the designer revealed his dramatic transformation by going from schlump to hottie. I could look like Jacobs if I followed his example of consuming only vegan food and working out with a personal trainer for three hours a day, seven days a week. Again, proving my theory that it is easy to be beautiful when you are very, very rich. In addition, that wealth allows you to date porn stars. He still smokes Marlboro Lights. An addict since being a teenager, Jacobs now says that he is done with drugs, including heroin and cocaine, after a stint in rehab in 2007.
Somewhat indiscreet on social media, Jacobs “accidentally” leaked a picture of his naked butt on Instagram last month, after which he responds with a Tweet saying:
“Yeah… I’m a gay man. I flirt and chat with guys online.”
This past fall, Jacobs somehow spilled the beans on Instagram about hosting an orgy, if 10 guys is considered an orgy, that was organized on his Grindr account. I appreciated that he didn’t deny or apologize. Instead he wrote:
“Why not? I don’t have any hang-ups about those things. I don’t really care. Who’s kidding who? I’ve talked about having hair transplants, I’ve talked about my drug problems, I’ve talked about my drinking problems, I’ve talked about sex. I just think it’s so much better to be honest about those things. I always find it very dubious and I don’t really trust people who deny human instincts.”
Marc Jacobs International’s Twitter information includes the caption: “It’s yours to try”. What a perfect slogan!
Last year’s arresting Marc Jacobs Spring 2016 advertising campaign was described as a fashion story by Jacobs:
“I see it as series of connected events; a visual narrative. It is a personal diary of people who have and continue to inspire me and open my mind to different ways of seeing and thinking. The spectrum of individuals photographed represent a celebration of my America. The people featured in our campaign personify this collection of fashion through their individuality. They embody and celebrate the spirit and beauty of equality.”
The campaign featured Human Rights Activist/Filmmaker Lana Wachowski, and fabulous celebs: Sandra Bernhard, Bette Midler, Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci, and World Of Wonder favorite Milk, from RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Jacobs lives in Paris and NYC. His Paris studio is just steps away from the Louvre and Notre Dame. I can just imagine how he will be spending his birthday.