The best thing about the Marc Jacobs profile in the current issue of The New Yorker is not what Marc Jacobs says. Indeed, we've heard him talk about his fondness for collecting contemporary art and working out for, like, a century, in what seems like countless profiles of him that show how hilarious and fabulous and quirky he is. But few profiles do justice to Marc's better half, business partner Robert Duffy. The 53-year-old has been working with Marc since 1984 (a year he has tattooed on his hand), and the way he talks about the designer, the two sound like an old married couple — you can tell Duffy knows Marc better than anyone else knows Marc, and you can totally imagine them hilariously bickering in that loving kind of way. We recommend reading the article in full, but here are some highlights from Ariel Levy's delightful piece:
In their New York office, Robert and Marc work at back-to-back desks.
Duffy hates the setup:
"It's horrible! I'll have all my papers and my notes and my margins and my, you know, audits and my shit on the table and I'll come back and there'll be spinach on my audit. Or he'll take this thing that says 'confidential' and all of a sudden he'll flip it over and start sketching things, and I'm, like, where's that confidential audit that no one's supposed to be touching or looking at? And then I'll find it months later in the design studio."
Jacobs might be so into his process he's oblivious of this:
“The way my mind works is somebody else has got this so down that they don’t make mistakes and their process is so much more linear than mine. I’ll think that, but, at some point, you know what? This is my process and I don’t know how to do it any other way. I’m sure there are people who can’t afford — who don’t have the luxury of being quite as organic as we are.”
Duffy wanted Marc to get healthy after going to rehab so he took him to a doctor and nutritionist.
Duffy saw Marc morph into someone he never wanted to be:
"He always took a certain pride in being an outsider and sort of chubby and nerdy and wearing glasses, having awkward muses and friends and things … People were reacting to him very differently, in a way that I don't think he ever thought he would like. That just led to his fascination with celebrities, and he started watching these reality shows that I've never watched in my life, and then he started dating Jason, the call boy — a self-promoter."
Jacobs morphed because he loved the limelight:
“There is definitely part of me that just loves the idea that I’m the headline —I do get some weird thrill out of that. I’m human. I love attention. Actors don’t go onstage because they don’t want attention. If you show your art, if you show your fashion, that’s also a very human thing, and, in terms of contemporary life and the twenty-first century fascination with personalities, I like that I get out of that fashion-designer box and become, I don’t know, personality box or celebrity box”
Marc has rotating fixations, like fitness.
“Marc becomes enchanted with certain things at certain times.”
“Everything is beautiful at the gym, everyone looks amazing. You just think it's like one big healthy circus going on there: the bodies are great, people are jolly, and, even when they're complaining about how strenuous it is, there's like, a kind of very good, positive, we're-all-doing-something-good-for-ourselves.”
And contemporary art.
"He was buying art until I was like, 'Marc, stop! You've got to pay your taxes!'"
Levy on Jacobs's home:
[H]is living room is accented fluffy white life-size sculpture of a sheep (the work of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne) … From where he was sitting on the sofa, Jacobs could see works of art by Andy Warhol, Francis Picabia, Georges Braque, John Currin, Elizabeth Peyton, David Hockney, Ed Ruscha, and Richard Prince.
And his two bull terriers.
"When he wanted to get a dog, it was, like, 'Oh God, we've got to get two, and they've got to be bull terriers, and they've got to be crazy and they have to be brought into the office every day.' … I'm terrified of the day that he decides he wants to start gardening. Because we'll have, like, Central Park in here or something."
Levy writes of her time spent in Marc Jacobs's house:
[The dogs] were upstairs in their crates that night, because, Jacobs said, if they were let out the barking and the chaos would be unending. (As it was there was a lot of barking. Every ten minutes or so, Jacobs would call, “Daisy, it’s O.K.!”) He has selected dogs that require an unusual amount of attention.