Marc Jacobs on Kimye, His Favorite Porn Star, and Babe the Pig

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Marc Jacobs and Bridget Foley. Photo: Nicholas Hunt/© Patrick McMullan

At last night’s opening dinner for the WWD Apparel & Retail CEO summit, Marc Jacobs pointed out it's officially crunch time for the fall 2013 shows. "Today’s the day when everyone goes into panic,” he said. Even so, he found time to sit down with Bridget Foley, WWD executive editor, for an onstage Q&A. Here, some condensed highlights — not limited to Martha Stewart inquiring about Jacobs's taste in porn stars.

On being tabloid fodder:

Bridget Foley: You were for a while a mainstay on the tabloid pages, and not so much recently.
MJ: Well, not since Kanye and Kim have sort of taken my thunder! No, I guess I’m just old news.

On his relationship with business partner Robert Duffy:

Well, first of all, Robert is the greatest person. We’ve never been lovers. We’ve had no love relationship, but he’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had with anybody. There are days when Robert really wants to throw in the towel, and then I’m all like, “No you can’t. We’ll get through this, we can do it.” And vice-versa, and he’ll be the encouraging one. And he’s great to all the people who work within the company. We both can drive each other crazy, but we both love each other to death. We just have such respect, and such trust. 

It sounds corny to say, but within our company there’s a family sort of feeling … anybody who has come to work for us — they start out as a receptionist and they could end up in the art department or selling or doing windows. He promotes from within. He believes in people I think a lot of other companies wouldn’t give that chance. I think that’s instinctive nature, and trusting his instincts, that I have in him and he has in me.

On starting his shows in a timely manner:

I love putting on the show, and sort of surprising myself and the audience in some way, and giving this little seven-minute or eleven-minute, on-time ... Sometimes two minutes early! Just little escape, like a little bit of theater. Maybe if I weren’t a designer I’d want to be a theater person. It really is a privilege [to see fashion shows]. You just wish that most of [the audience] would think the way you do, instead of complaining about how annoying it is to have to travel fifteen minutes to sit through the show that starts twenty minutes late. But I’m not bitter.

On female designers:

Chanel, Schiaparelli, Miuccia [Prada], Rei [Kawakubo] … there’s a certain intelligence. Even when something is subversive or unusual, you can’t call them a misogynist. They’re not poking fun at women. When Miuccia sends a woman out in a Prada show in a fur jacket and panties, nobody thinks she’s making fun of women. But a guy doing that becomes sort of sexist. I think there’s an integrity and there’s also an intelligence that comes with those women and their designs.

On pleasing LVMH's Bernard Arnault:

I always feel like Babe, the pig, with the farmer, where at the end of the movie the farmer will say, “That’ll do, pig.” [Arnault]'s gotten a little bit better. Now he does come up to me after these very illustrious shows. He was very pleased with the train. He was like, “It was magnificent, it was incredible.” So he’s been a lot more forthcoming. But there was a good ten or fifteen years where it was, “That’ll do, pig.”

I have this thing where I want so desperately to please people, and I can’t please everyone. But he is my boss. He is the one who gave me that opportunity. He’s the one who gave Robert [Duffy] that opportunity. So if I can get one little “that’ll do” from anybody, it’s him that I want it from.

On his favorite porn star, via Martha Stewart, who piped up from the audience:

Martha Stewart: [My readers] want to know who your favorite porn star is.
MJ: Well, my favorite ex-porn star is this guy named Eddie.