Marc Jacobs Tells Calvin Klein How Colitis Led Him to Eschew Wearing Clothes

Marc in the September issue of Harper's Bazaar.

For a person who makes interesting clothes for a living, Marc Jacobs's attitude about what he wears personally may seem curious. He pretty much dresses the same every day in his working life, in a white shirt and kilt; when he has to do photo shoots, he usually wears something like a sheet or body paint or scrap of tin foil, if anything. Either very little clothing, body paint, a sheet, or nothing at all. Sometimes, not even body hair. In an interview with Calvin Klein for the September issue of Harper's Bazaar, Jacobs discusses his attitude toward menswear, the serious health problems that led to his complete lifestyle change, and why he's just fine with chicks destroying his very expensive creations.

His menswear lines aren't derived from his personal style.

In terms of having a business, I wanted to let it go beyond what my personal taste is. Basically, I’m in a kilt and a white shirt every day. So, you know, I don’t have a lot of scope, and I’m really picky about what I wear. Even if it’s weird, it’s very particular to me. And you can’t make a business out of what I would wear. We’d be out of business.

He had seriously scary health problems so he went on a seriously restrictive diet.

I had 21 percent body fat four years ago. I was in and out of the hospital because I had flare-ups of ulcerative colitis. I’d be in the office for 16 hours a day, six of which were in the bathroom because I was so ill. I ate nothing but junk food. Basically, the doctor said, “We’re going to have to remove your colon.” And I said, “I’m not doing that!”
So I went to a nutritionist named Lindsey Duncan, and he said, “If you are 100 percent compliant with what I tell you to do, you will be in better shape than you’ve ever been in, and you will not have to have your colon removed.” I said, “Okay, sign me up.” He said no caffeine, no sugar, no white flour, no dairy from a cow, take açaí every morning, goji, noni, mangosteen, et cetera, omega-3, wheatgrass shots with ginger. The list is endless.
He said, “You gotta laugh every day, you gotta rest every day, and you have to perspire every day, which means you have to go to the gym.” I hadn’t stepped foot in a gym. Well, I hadn’t walked a block in 20 years ...
When guys started looking at me and asking me out on dates, I felt way better about myself. So it was hard to keep my clothes on, actually. And whenever I was asked to take my clothes off, I was like, “Sure! I haven’t worked out for three years to keep this all under wraps.” Everything changed. I cut my hair, I got contact lenses, I started to groom and get manicures and pedicures. I started to get my hair cut every two weeks.

He won't be offended if he sees you destroy your very expensive Marc Jacobs collection pieces.

Sometimes we get very giddy and we start making things that really look like fashion-show clothes. And I say, “I have to believe that someone I know would wear this.” It’s just not enough to like some concoction. I’m not interested in making stuff for museums; I want the clothes to be worn. I don’t care if the girl sits on a curb in them after a party and they’re destroyed. I have to believe that there’s going to be a life for these things. Otherwise, I wouldn’t send them down the catwalk.

Calvin Klein Interviews Marc Jacobs [Harper's Bazaar]