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Oh, Marc

His shows are always late, hot, crowded, uncomfortable—but he’s always forgiven. Until this year, when some in the fashion industry finally turned on Marc Jacobs, and he turned back on them.


Jacobs at his show on September 10.  

Is there another New York designer as brilliant and confounding, inspiring and frustrating, as Marc Jacobs—the ex–Upper West Side club kid with the morphing identities and seemingly endless capacity for genre-rocking flair?

It’s old news to anyone who’s followed Marc Jacobs that the designer routinely starts his shows late, even by fashion standards. They’re typically scheduled for 9 p.m. on the Monday of New York Fashion Week, but rarely begin before ten. The waiting is not terribly comfortable—it’s usually in the Lexington Avenue Armory, on metal bleacher seating, always very crowded, and sometimes distressingly hot. Still, twice a year, the highest of the fashion world sit and wait, watching the celebrities trickle in and the staff of Jacobs’s stalwart show-production company, KCD, run up and down the sidelines, talking into their headsets with creased, tense brows.

But this show was especially late, even by Jacobs standards. Around 8:30 p.m., publicists began madly dialing guests as if they were part of a snow-day phone tree. “Please don’t come till 10:30!” they begged. So the editors and retailers, who were having their traditional pre-show dinners at Dos Caminos or Les Halles or BLT Steak or Wakiya, waited and drank a little more.

The show didn’t start until eleven, by which time any alcohol euphoria was long gone. And so began a newly hostile relationship between Jacobs and the press. “Marc Jacobs disappoints with a freak show,” wrote Suzy Menkes in the International Herald Tribune. Women’s Wear Daily reported that she’d said, at the show, “I would like to murder him with my bare hands and never see another Marc Jacobs show in my life.”

“Marc Jacobs: Unfashionably Late,” complained The Wall Street Journal. Robin Givhan of the Washington Post wrote of the neglect suffered by her dog while its owner sat 60 blocks south waiting, waiting, waiting.

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