Marc Jacobs has been called many things: Genius. Pioneer. Original. Exhibitionist. And, it's no wonder — the man is synonymous with style. His show, season after season, marks the pinnacle of New York Fashion Week and points in the direction of things to come.
Even outside of show season, Marc continues to evolve and delight: In the past few months, he’s acted in his first film, worn the same women’s Prada coat as Anna Wintour (to the same event!), been named creative director of Diet Coke, and designed costumes for a virtual opera.
But, Marc is also just Marc. We spoke to 13 of his muses and longtime collaborators — from Kim Gordon to Guido Palau to tattoo artist Scott Campbell — to tap into what makes the man, the myth, the legend, tick.
Photo: Nicholas Hunt / PatrickMcMullan.
Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth musician and Marc Jacobs muse
"Marc has a really playful attitude and kind of screws around with the cliché image of girls and femininity. In a certain way, he doesn't take it all so seriously. He has fun with it. And, he puts on really good shows."
Photographed by Jason Rodgers.
Ruby Jean Wilson, model and inspiration for the Spring 2013 Marc Jacobs beauty look
"It was Marc who put me on the map, and I will be eternally grateful for that. He is great fun to work with, and [I love] his individualism and lack of fear of taking risks."
Photo: MCV Photo
François Nars, founder and creative director of NARS
"We connected right away. He's fun, he’s wild, he’s a fantastic designer, and he’s full of ideas. He has a sense of freedom and always follows his instincts when it comes to fashion. He’s also incredibly creative — that’s the best part. [And] he’s always looking for the next thing — which is nice, because I am, too."
Photo: Courtesy of NARS.
Camille Bidault Waddington, stylist for Marc by Marc Jacobs
"Marc has a huge connaissance of fashion history, photography, and cinema, and you feel that in his work. His point of view is very precise and very free — it is usually quite emotional and a reaction to something else."
Photo: Courtesy of Camille Bidault Waddington
Simon Doonan, creative ambassador, Barneys New York
"Everyone loves Marc Jacobs. Not only is he super-talented, but he is also honest and unpretentious. We're talking about a bloke who went to his own Halloween party dressed as a 'camel-toe.' Bonjour!"
Photographed by Albert Sanchez.
Scott Campbell, tattoo artist (he's tattooed Marc "20, 25 times")
"One of the things I love about Marc is that he's so lighthearted. There are so many times when people will put so much pressure on a tattoo that it almost kills the fun of it — they try to summarize their entire existence into one little symbol or image. But Marc keeps it fun. If it's something that he looks at and it makes him smile, then that's enough reason to get it. He's very instinctual. He doesn't overthink it.
"He got a lot of tattoos really quickly and everybody's like, 'Is Marc okay?' 'What's going on?' 'We're worried about Marc.' 'What's he thinking?' I kind of smile to myself. Like, you guys don't even know how brilliant the decisions he made are. What, on the outside, seems like Marc is losing his mind is really just Marc being sincere and honest to a level that a lot of people only aspire to. I wish everyone were as comfortable with themselves, so that they could be as lighthearted as Marc is."
Photographed by Wyatt Troll.
Dick Page, Shiseido artistic director
"I've worked with Marc for a long time on both his shows and ad campaigns; the most magical experience was when Juergen [Teller] shot me and my husband, James, for the menswear campaign in 2006. Marc has always expressed huge trust and love toward the people he works with. He's pretty special."
Photo: Courtesy of Shiseido.
Ginta Lapina, model
"There are never dull moments when you are working with Marc. His creative energy is magnetic, the set is always full of energy and life, and he always puts love into what he does. It’s just always great to see how imaginative and fun he makes the process."
Photo: Maria Valentino/MCV Photo
Guido Palau, hairstylist
"Every time you do a show with Marc, you learn something new about a period, about a woman, about style. He really is a perfectionist who pushes that perfection onto you. It's people like that that really elevate your work. My work is great in his company."
Photographed by Greg Kessler.
Stephen Jones, milliner
"We've worked together for ten years now. He simply has an amazing knowledge of fashion. Really — like an encyclopedia, it's extraordinary. The hats always have a character. He sometimes builds an image in his mind's eye, which consists of accessories, clothes, sets and everything together. It’s not just, 'Okay, we're going to put a hat on a girl.'"
Frédéric Sanchez, sound illustrator
"We know each other so well, after all these years [Sanchez began doing Marc's show soundtracks in 1994], that we don't even really need to talk. So it's a very, very easy process. He shows me the clothes, he shows me the set, and ultimately, I come the next day, and we have decided the music. The shows that Marc does are really, really emotional. It's almost like he's directing a play or an opera or something like that."
Photographed by Amélie Rouyer.
director of Disconnect
"Marc had done a cameo for me in a short film I'd made many years ago with Winona Ryder. I could tell that he had comic timing, which is very difficult — you either have it or you don't.
, I was trying to fill the role of Harvey — an online underage pornographer, a Fagin type who runs a house for a bunch of runaway teens. I thought it might be funny to ask Marc to play that role, and he was game. You've got to have a pretty good sense of self to take on a character who seems like such a sleazeball. I've hung out with Marc enough to know that he's nothing
like this character. Harvey has to get angry and violent, and that's not at all what Marc is like. You watch his body language, his eye movements — he does a lot, and it's very understated. Most people go out of their way to tell me how strong he is in the movie.
"One of the reasons I thought it would be funny to cast him is that on film, he looks very imposing because he's so cut and muscular, he's covered in tattoos, and he keeps his hair very closely cropped. But, when you get close to him, you see that those tattoos are of things like M&Ms and SpongeBob SquarePants. You realize it's all sort of a whimsical façade for someone who's a soft-spoken, super-articulate, wickedly funny creative genius."Photo: MediaPunch Inc/Rex USA
Alberto Morillas, Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh master perfumer, on Marc's vision for fragrance
“It is all very coherent and linked to the values and DNA of his fashion; the fragrances, like the fashion, have a clear approach associated with modernizing classic concepts, turning them into something completely new that are always very feminine and youthful.”
Photo: Courtesy of Coty Prestige.