Excerpt courtesy of Bridget Foley, WWD
Guests to the Louis Vuitton show left behind the light of a lovely Paris morning for a second dark reverie, one that employed a showgirl ruse to celebrate the decorative, superficial, hyper-beautiful side of Paris that Jacobs had come to love in his 16 years as creative director. The breathtaking show would be his last for the house.
WWD: Are you feeling wistful?
Marc Jacobs: It seems like everyone is, “Are you OK? Are you upset?” I’m like, “No, I’m really not.” And no matter what you say, no matter how you explain the situation—for Robert [Duffy] and me, it’s all really super positive. And if I weren’t OK, I would be the first to say I’m not OK. I’m not good at hiding my feelings. I’m also not good at lying. I’m very open about everything. We’re both really hopeful. We both really believe in what Mr. Arnault said, and we all made this choice. We signed our contracts for the changing [situation] in the Marc Jacobs company, with LVMH.
WWD: A new contract?
M.J.: Yes. It’s a huge contract. Again, after Robert was negotiating for so long, it’s another demonstration of how seriously intent they are on taking the company to the next level. What the contract seems to provide for, what they did for Robert and me, is setting up for “this is the direction.” We’ve had Mr. Arnault’s word and we have this contract now. This is all super positive.
WWD: Has Marc Jacobs always been you first priority?
M.J.: Robert has always said to me, “When you think back to when we met Mr. Arnault and LVMH, they were willing to invest in Marc Jacobs because they wanted us to do Vuitton.” They were willing to make a smaller investment to keep Marc Jacobs going if that was the cost to get us to do Vuitton. Robert would say to me, “I know you love [Vuitton], I know you give your heart to it, but Marc Jacobs is our future and Marc Jacobs is what we built. The reason we’re here in Paris is to keep what we started alive.” Robert was the voice of reason in this; he always has been the practical one.
WWD: Did you lose sight of it?
M.J.: I didn’t lose sight of it. It’s just that I operate in a very different way. I go through my ups and downs emotionally, physically, in every other way in terms of getting to the end, which is the show and the collection. We go through the fabric stage, all that stuff. That’s where my head is. I don’t have space or room for the rest of the conversation. We’ve got to do the shows, we’ve got to do the bags, we’ve got to do the clothes, we’ve got to figure out the set. Now, it’s “We’ve got to get a Coty meeting. We’ve got to get a new fragrance. We’ve got to do two days of press for the fragrance. We’ve got to meet with Sephora. We’ve got to have a press day about that.”
WWD: Was there the same amount of emotional investment in Vuitton?
M.J.: It’s very different. I have this attitude about being this foreigner in Paris. It’s sort of make believe in Paris. New York is very real to me—it’s where I grew up, it’s where my friends are, it’s where I feel most comfortable. In Paris, I embraced the idea that I lived in this bubble and I always saw Paris the way I wanted it to be…I don’t need to know about politics, I don’t need to know about the economy. I just see what I want to see. I live in this beautiful home on the park that overlooks the Eiffel Tower. I go to work … I make beautiful stuff and then somebody else decides what’s being made, what’s being shipped. There isn’t tension. I saw just what I liked, not having the same emotional attachment to it. I tried to write that in the [Vuitton] program. The love for the superficial is just as real a feeling. That superficiality that I see in Paris is just as real a love as loving something because I have a deep, emotional attachment on a more spiritual level. I don’t want to get all philosophical but it’s very genuine. It’s funny when people feel they have to justify. Love is a feeling. When you love something you feel happy. Happy is happy.
Whether you’re happy in New York because your friends are there and you grew up there, or you’re happy in Paris because the lights at the Place de la Concorde are so beautiful when you drive through. I’ve gone through enough therapy to know that in honoring one’s feelings, you don’t have to assign weight: “I’m happier…” Going with your feelings, honoring your feelings, embracing them, they are just as valid for whatever reason.
WWD: Have you ever doubted your creative instincts?
M.J.: All the time; that’s part of the process. For me, there certainly needs to be a healthy dose of questioning, feeling very confident about one’s choices, then questioning one’s choices. That’s how something organically shifts and grows and becomes what it ultimately does. It’s not about making an instinctive decision six months prior to having a show and just executing that decision—that wouldn’t allow for any spontaneity.