Marc Jacobs: Starting at Louis Vuitton Was Paralyzing

Photo: WireImage

Considering you probably know more details about Marc Jacobs's fitness regime, love life, and tattoos than your roommate's, it's easy to forget why he's so famous in the first place. Allow us to remind you! Jacobs discussed the challenges of heading up his own label and designing for Louis Vuitton on Monday with students at Central Saint Martins school in London. Here's what he had to say:

On designing his first ready-to-wear collection as the newly appointed creative director of Louis Vuitton in 1997:

"This Vuitton thing was scary … Suddenly you're on the Paris stage, with this huge name. I felt so paralyzed by it. That first collection was a no-win situation. I thought, if I give them what they expect, they'll be disappointed because they wanted to be surprised. If I give them a surprise, they'll be disappointed because it wasn't what they were expecting."

On the difficulties of getting his spring 2001 Stephen Sprouse monogram collection for Louis Vuitton produced:

"I don't understand corporate people — I always say the design team's on the second floor and the corporate people are on the fifth floor, and it might as well be the distance between here and Mars … The press reaction to all that graffiti was so amazing … [but] they bitched and moaned, [saying] 'we're not going to do it'. I just couldn't believe it … at the time, that's how narrow-minded they were … [but] $300 million later, they think it's a good idea!"

On hiring Tom Ford to design denim for Perry Ellis when Jacobs headed the label:

"Tom was a different person then … Tom was this very, very sort of haughty, tasteful person, very Waspy … or that's what he was affecting at that moment. I thought it would be great to do a jean line with someone who has a very sophisticated mind."

On what fashion really is all about:

"When I trust my own whims, and the whims of people I trust, I feel that has credibility … Belief is embedded in everything you do — so it doesn't actually matter whether people like it. I guess what we do, as a team, is a daily, weekly, monthly re-evaluation of whims."

The quote that will make you say "word":

"I can't bear it when designers go on about inspiration … If a girl wants to wear it and feels good then who cares?"

Marc on … Louis Vuitton [British Vogue]
Fashion Scoops: Marc At Saint Martins [WWD]