Robert Duffy Understands Us

By
Photo: Patrick McMullan

Behind a truly great fashion empire is not only a great designer but that designer's equally great business partner; Robert Duffy is Marc Jacobs's. The company just opened a new Marc by Marc Jacobs store in London, a notable feat in These Times. Robert knew all along that carrying the lower-priced Marc by Marc line along with the Marc Jacobs collection was important. Especially now, it's not hard to see why that's the case. But this being the fashion industry, which exists in a vacuum, it wasn't easy for his peers to, you know, get it.

"Opening Marc by Marc was very big. Marc's love is the collection line. I always wanted the company to be broad and wanted to reach out to a lot of people. It was difficult to convince people that it was necessary — to be a luxury brand but be all price points. But I knew I could do it and I'm proud we did it," says Duffy ... "It's the way normal people dress. I've never understood the mystery behind it. I don't know any woman that only dresses in expensive clothes."


Ooh, ooh we do! Donatella Versace, whose company is suffering after it decided not to mark down the Versace collection in the recession. But perhaps her company is beginning to grasp, as Duffy did long ago, the concept of people who don't pay six figures for every piece of clothing they own, since Versace recently decided to relaunch the younger, lower-priced Versus collection. Duffy tells British Vogue he plans to open 30 more stores by the end of the year, perhaps including the first Marc Jacobs bookstore. Marc might do a book, but Duffy says he won't because he "can't write." Books are nice and all, but we kind of hope Marc and Robert open a gym (so Gwyneth Paltrow doesn't have to!) with pictures of Marc and Posh Spice on the walls and stuffed-animal suits for the reception staff. Wouldn't you be a member?

Setting Up Shop [British Vogue]