Marc Jacobs, according to the New York Times who introduced their subject by saying; ‘call him a genius, a junkie, an original, a shameless copycat, a winsome recluse, a brazen exhibitionist’, has mixed feelings about the Council of Fashion Designers of America award he is shortly to receive - the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award.
‘It should have been a half-lifetime award’ but then got a bit cross, when the interviewer thought he was joking. ’It wasn’t a joke,’ Mr Jacobs replied, reddening perceptibly from his cheekbones to his neck and even, it seemed, through the SpongeBob SquarePants and Liz Taylor tattoos that decorate his biceps. ‘Lifetime achievement,’ he repeated sourly. ‘That seems very final, like I’m done.’
‘But I’m not done.’
No indeed he isn’t, as the article goes on to outline all the ways in which Marc Jacobs, now 48 (!) succeeds, from his multiple stores on Bleeker St in New York, to the outrageously enormous commercial smash he has made out of Louis Vuitton, to his hotly anticipated own-name shows at New York Fashion Week, to the cream of the fashion crop’s admiration for him To cite Andre Leon Talley; ‘His shows have impact,’ said US Vogue’s editor at large. ‘They become the major, pivotal, prophetic moment of the season.’
Then, they ask critics if they can think of any reasons why Marc isn’t so great any more. The main worry is that he’ll never go down as one of the great designers, because ‘Does he have a consistent identity? Absolutely not’ according to trend forecaster David Wolfe.
According to the designer himself, he feels no compunction to stick with a signature look. ‘You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t,’ he offered serenely. ‘If you stay with one look, people just say, “Oh, he does the same thing every season.” If you do something different each time, you’re some kind of fashion imposter.’
Apparently he doesn’t even like the term cool! He can’t take it seriously, ‘It’s one of those words that still make me stare at my feet,’ he said. ‘It’s what other people can use to describe you.’
Well, they still do, Marc, and in quite large numbers. So don’t take umbrage at being given an award and just keep doing what you’re doing.
- Naomi Attwood