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The Observer Profiles Marc Jacobs

Here’s a history lesson…

A designer with bags of talent

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In 2001, Winona Ryder stole $5,560.40 worth of fashion from Saks Fifth Avenue, but was arrested when she left the tags on a blue Marc Jacobs bag. A year later, flattered when she wore one of his monochrome frocks in court, Jacobs invited Ryder to model for him. She accepted, of course, appearing in a campaign shot by Juergen Teller, snipping labels off cashmere sweaters. Responding to the stir the campaign caused, Jacobs sniggered: ‘It would be stupid for me to say I didn’t expect any reaction.’

‘Marc is a great, great designer – his talent is stronger than it’s ever been before,’ says Anna Wintour, ‘but he also has a very acute sense of how to use the media.’ Jacobs has embraced the internet – updates on his relationship with Preston appeared regularly on MySpace, and he named an ostrich-skin bag after a blogger. It’s this, in part, that places him apart from other contemporary designers. ‘He’s switched on,’ says Harriet Quick, Vogue’s fashion features editor. ‘He’s young, he’s affable and as a member of the style generation, he uses lots of mixed-up references, which is the sign of a great talent.’

Marc Jacobs has that thing that makes you believe in him. He’s arrogant, while displaying moments of humility. He’s been an “overnight” success his whole life and is still conflicted as a human being, conflicts that he wears on his sleeve and continuously overcomes publicly. His clothes are worn partly because of their innovative design and partly because of his celebrity. As a designer, Marc Jacobs is one of the few people who get to enjoy such a personal fanbase for both himself and his designs.

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