I remember the first time I heard the name Marc Jacobs. I was around eighteen years old when Lost In Translation appeared in cinemas, and Sofia Coppola became a person I admire. A few years later, The Devil Wears Prada cemented my love for fashion and a compulsive reading of Vogue. Inbetween those pages were adverts for Marc Jacobs, featuring Sofia Coppola in candid poses and photographed by Juergen Teller.
I read up on their friendship, and discovered that the character of Charlotte had been dressed in Marc Jacobs throughout Lost In Translation. I liked his clean lines, his simplicity, he brought something of the lady back into fashion without making it fragile. Looking at his picture online didn’t make me look twice. He looked awkward, bookish and greasy. I was captured by his clothes, not much by the man.
A couple of years passed, and a Vogue video podcast featured Marc Jacobs in conversation with Anna Sui. This time I looked twice. Here was a handsome, tanned, mischief-eyed man with a buzzcut, dressed impeccably in a crisp white shirt and jeans. Beyond his appearance, he talked passionately and confidently about fashion and art, a world away from the greasy thing hiding behind his glasses from before.
I read about his life exhaustively, and although I couldn’t afford his clothes, I did the best I could in capturing his spirit into my wardrobe. Owning a Louis Vuitton was a milestone I had set in my life, a moment when I knew I had made it in life, and to see the slightly stuffy brand transform into luxury brand not afraid of taking risks and being creative was inspiring to me.
Suddenly it seemed Marc Jacobs was everywhere. His fragrances took off and became a staple of every well-dressed woman’s armament. His diffusion line, Marc By Marc Jacobs, meant people were able to afford his fresh classic takes on watches, glasses and bags.
Poisonous ears perked up, it was a story too good to resist. A slightly podgy, nerdy ex-drug addicted fashion designer had practically overnight become the celebrity everyone expected him to be. Now he appeared naked in adverts with his freshly tattooed beefcake body, having given up practically everything other than grilled meat and fruit. The glitterati fawned around him, and his empire grew. There was just one last accessory left, his twenty-something porn star boyfriend, Harry Louis.
Now all anyone seemed to talk about was them together, growing suspiciously to look more like twins than lovers. Bearded, hulking, increasingly inked, parading around exotic beaches in the tiniest of banana hammocks. Everyone and their homeless mother were walking around with fake Louis Vuitton bags, and while the store displays remained innovative, everything was starting to feel a touch dead in the water.
Then came this year’s Paris Fashion Week, with the Louis Vuitton show counting down to midnight. With a chime of the gongs, Marc Jacobs announced he was leaving Louis Vuitton after sixteen years with the company. The intention being to take the Marc Jacobs brand public, buying it out from LVMH and turning it into the fashion giant it can rightfully be.
The biggest casualty of this announcement seems to be the boyfriend, with Harry Louis very publicly announcing via Instagram that he and Marc were no more. Complete with, of course, a terribly discreet and tasteful photo of the couple in what looks like a smashed photo frame. Let’s be honest, Harry Louis’ Instagram followers will dramatically decrease by this time next year. Anyone remember Jesus Luz, by any chance? In the meantime, he seems intent on starting his own chocolate business, with one of the most bizarre websites I have ever seen. (www.hlchocolates.com if you’re curious).
Marc Jacobs’ own silence on the matter speaks volumes. A man whose taste for the spotlight for its own sake seems to have come to pass. There seems to be an urgency to getting back to business, and parading around in speedos just isn’t going to cut it. I just can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.
What are your thoughts on Marc Jacobs’ departure? How about Harry Louis’ very public announcement? Let us know! @misterpalazzo @vadamagazine #HelloNeverland