Jan 19, 2012

The Talks: Marc Jacobs

The Talks‘s latest high profile subject is none other than eponymous brand founder and Louis Vuitton designer Marc Jacobs. Having enjoyed a notable physical transformation which has seen him placed in the nude for select Louis Vuitton ads, the interview focuses heavily on his progress towards a relatively (he still smokes) healthier lifestyle and the benefits he has enjoyed cause of it.

An excerpt is seen below and you can read the full interview here.

Mr. Jacobs, how would you describe your ultimate goal as a designer?
To make nice things and to get them out there so people can enjoy them.

Are designers selling an image more than clothes nowadays?
No, I don’t think so. Different people buy for different reasons, but I don’t think we are selling an image. I think we are selling products and those products have some kind of intrinsic integrity or some sort of aesthetic or sensibility. Whether it is a t-shirt or whether it is a party-dress, the approach to them is exactly the same: it is something we wanted to make. So I don’t really think we are selling an image. People can buy for whatever reason they want but we are basically just involved in the making of things.

Yves Saint Laurent said in his farewell speech: “I now understand that the most important encounter in life is the encounter with oneself.” Have you reached that moment yet?
I feel I know myself pretty well at this point. I am still open-minded and still kind of curious and have a wonder about things, but I feel quite strong as a person and I’ve developed a certain confidence and a certain self-awareness. It doesn’t make life easy all the time, but it gives me a certain strength that perhaps took a long time to develop.

Is success a key to happiness?
I don’t know, I don’t know what the key to happiness is. Happy is just a feeling like every other feeling. I certainly feel happy some days and in general I am pretty happy, but I have all the other feelings as well. So I don’t know if there is a key. Maybe the Buddhists have it right where they just sort of honor all feelings and just go with the flow. And then I think you have no problems.

Can success and constant flattery be distracting?
Well, I just do my job. I’m not really distracted by it. Nice things are very nice to hear and it is flattering when one is given some kind of recognition, but none of that distracts me from what my job is, what it has always been: to make things. And honestly, no matter how flattering or even un-flattering something is, it doesn’t prevent me from getting up and going to work and doing what I love to do.

You have made a huge transformation in your image over the past 6 years. Was getting physically in shape a necessity in order to achieve the image you thought was the best for you and your brand?
No, I didn’t do it for the image. I did it for health reasons. I was really very weak. I had been working very hard and I had some stomach problems, so I saw a nutritionist and he recommended that I go to the gym and change my diet and all of that.

Has it been a new feeling for you?
Of course. I liked the results on a lot of levels. I felt better, I felt stronger and I think I also gained a lot of confidence with the physical transformation I made. One thing just led to another and I feel that I live a happier and richer life since I’ve been taking care of myself.

There are no exceptions?
With the exception of smoking cigarettes. But besides that I take pretty good care of myself. I enjoy it.

Besides looking into the mirror, what else do you enjoy more now on a day to day basis?
It’s funny: I enjoy clothing more, I enjoy getting my haircut, I enjoy grooming. In a way it kind of helped me to understand more of what the customer sees in terms of fashion. I got to appreciate it more from a first hand point of view. I like to shop, for example, which I never did before.

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