In anticipation of his Lifetime Achievement Award, which he will receive during the CFDA Awards Monday, Marc Jacobs (who notes of the award, "It’s not my achievement, number one. It is Marc Jacobs as a company") sat down with WWD to wax philosophical on everything from Alexander Wang to Twitter to whether he considers himself a "great talent."
Highlights from the interview, below.
On what he did for Memorial Day: “Memorial Day? I don’t think I’ve had a Memorial Day off in 30 years. We’re all here [at the office]. The design team’s here, working through Saturday, Sunday, Monday. I’ll go to the gym every morning, but I’ll be here after the gym. It’s resort.”
On his success and being recognized in public and approached by fans: "I can’t help but remember the days when Robert [Duffy, his business partner] and I were interviewed for 48 Hours [in 1988]. Robert was building a runway. I’m vomiting in the bathroom because we hadn’t slept in three days and we were delirious and hallucinating. So none of that ever goes away."
On whether he's a "great talent": "No. I still wouldn’t say I am ... I don’t mind if you say it but I’m not going to say it myself."
On winning this year's CFDA Lifetime Achievement award: "I haven’t even sat down to write the [CFDA] speech yet but I’ve been thinking a lot about it, about what does this mean to me and what does this mean to us. I just turned 48 but I don’t feel 48. I still feel like a young person but I really see the difference in the work. I’m trying to understand what all of that means and how I feel about it."
On younger designers: "People ask me about the younger designers, Alex Wang and all of them, I think they’re great. I couldn’t do what they do. It’s not what I do. But just like in pop music and in the art world, people always want new work from the artist that they like but they also want new artists. I don’t think one changes the other. There’s always room for new designers, new musicians, new artists, new writers. Madonna, I don’t think is showing any signs of slowing down, but that doesn’t mean Lady Gaga isn’t taking over the world."
On the most recent Louis Vuitton show: "I loved the Vuitton show. I think as a show it was probably my favorite presentation we’ve ever done of a collection. I really loved it ... I’ve spent the past two weeks, which is superpremature, thinking that I don’t know what we’re going to do to top that last Vuitton show. I thought it was the most beautiful presentation. I think, 'Why am I doing this to myself?' but it’s inevitable. When I get back to Paris two weeks from now, I’m just going to be like, 'What are we going to do? What are we going to do?' The answer won’t come right away."
On designers he admires: "I think the greatest contributors to fashion are women. Chanel, Vionnet. I think Vivienne Westwood; I think Miuccia Prada; Schiaparelli, Rei Kawakubo ... The one that I probably feel the most strongly about is Miuccia, because of the aesthetic and the mood. There’s something so shocking and so tender about it, and it’s also very real ... There’s an eccentricity but there’s also a chic old world sophistication, but it’s so new. It’s young but never vulgar. There’s a sex appeal that’s kind of naïve. It’s all the things I love."
On his debt to Tom Ford: "I felt that [being hired for Vuitton] was all born from Tom [Ford’s] success at Gucci. I believe Mr. Arnault was aware of that and said, 'We can do that with Vuitton.'"
On working for Bernard Arnault: "I meet with Mr. Arnault every time I’m in Paris. He’s such a hands-on sort of guy. He goes to every store in every country and he discusses things with me ... He was thrilled with the last [Vuitton] show. He felt that one and the one around the fountain were how he would like women to see Vuitton’s image as a fashion brand. He’s very up front and honest with me about what he likes and what he doesn’t like, what he thinks works and also what he thinks works in other places. Not that he’s asking me to do what someone else does, but to look at the success of certain things."
On the resources available to him at Louis Vuitton: "If you look at our first Vuitton show, we wanted to send out a nice collection of simple clothes with all the logos on the inside and one single bag on Kirsten Owen. It has evolved into, ‘OK, this is Paris. Let’s have three elevators.’ I asked for six; I got three. So we’re like, ‘Let’s get Kate Moss, Naomi [Campbell]. Let’s fly in Stella [Tennant]. Let’s fly in Carolyn [Murphy] and Amber [Valletta].’ You want a show? Okay guys, I’ll give you a show."
On critics: "You are dealing with a whole lot of highly sensitive people who [will react] depending on their mood and how they’re feeling that day or what they did or didn’t eat for lunch. I have no problem going on record with this and probably have gone on record with this before, there aren’t that many people who I respect. There just aren’t. I think journalists have the right to their opinions but I think their opinions should be based on history and what they see, not what they feel, how long they’ve been waiting or whether it’s raining or it’s snowing or whatever."
On whether traditional media matters anymore: "I’m not sure it does as much as it used to, and I’m not sure how much it ever did ... [But] I feel like it affects the energy of all of us. In fashion we all gossip about it because within our community it’s extremely important. I think it breaks momentum or a sort of energy when there’s harsh criticism, and I think when the critique is positive, we all feel quite robust and we’re out there. In that way, it has an effect. But in another, I think a woman’s going to go into a shop to find a coat or a jacket and I just don’t think she’s not going to go into a shop because of a bad review she probably didn’t even read."
On joining Twitter: "I’ve got better things to do. I don’t need to talk to like schoolteachers from New Jersey about what was valid [in a collection] and what was invalid and what was derivative and what was referencing. I mean, I’ve just got work to do. I really don’t care to argue with you."