Marc Jacobs’ is still one of the most highly anticipated shows of New York Fashion Week. But a New York Times profile of the impending CFDA Lifetime Achievement award recipient painted a bit less rosy picture of the designer’s place in the fashion food chain.
First of all, this award is a bit of a double-edged sword. Yes, the industry is acknowledging all your contributions, but it’s also sort of telling you that you’re old and finished. And Marc gets this. He told the NYT’s Ruth La Ferla: “Lifetime Achievement. That seems very final, like I’m done. But I’m not done.”
The NYT then goes on to make a case that, yes, it seems like Marc Jacobs may be done. Or at least heading in that direction. The points of contention:
He isn’t original and doesn’t have a signature look: To which Marc replied, “You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t. 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 impostor.”
He’s no longer “cool”: Citing new designers like Rag & Bone and Alexander Wang as the choice of hip young things now, he may be losing street cred. One fashion student said that he looked “commercial” and that she would rather buy Prada or Lanvin. Retailers wouldn’t comment about Marc Jacobs sales, but the author noted that Marc by Marc has been relegated to the back of Barneys Co-op.
His looks never show up on the red carpet: A stylist called them “avant-garde.” Perhaps red carpet clothes need to be boring by definition. Heidi Klum wore Spring 2011 Marc to the Golden Globes and was panned by the mainstream fashion media. (We don’t recall ever having seen Alex Wang on the red carpet either, nor do we foresee it in the near future. Just saying.)
People liked him better when he was fat and dumpy: The new buff, naked Marc is apparently too intimidating. He's definitely been more visibly attached to the brand since he got hot (Bang ads, anyone?) Is this sort of in-your-face message too much and overwhelming his brand?
The article raises some really good points and is definitely worth a read. When you’ve been doing something for 20 years, especially in fashion, the masses will eventually tire of you. I remember getting my first Marc Jacobs bag about ten years ago. It’s now wrapped up in my closet. Is it because it’s not cool to use it anymore? Oh, the fickleness of fashion.