Sunday 14th March

| BY Claudia Croft

Ten Meets Marc Jacobs, Who Wears Gucci For the Final Cover of Issue 66

Then there was one. Gracing the final cover of 10 Magazine Issue 66 is none other than Mr Marc Jacobs himself. Shot by Nicolas Newbold and styled by Julio Espada, the legendary designer and all-round purveyor of fashion finery wears his favourite looks from the season, whether that’s JW Anderson and Raf Simons, to his own line, Heaven, and Gucci, seen here on the cover. For the issue, Jacobs jumped on a Zoom call with Claudia Croft to discuss his latest metamorphosis: Mannequin Marc.

Some people get up and get dressed in the morning. Others get up and serve looks – high-fashion, artistic, inspiring, emphatic looks. “It’s a form of self-care,” says Marc Jacobs of a daily ritual that captivated his followers during the first lockdown.

As the world shut down, many of us quickly retreated to the comfort of elasticated waistbands, but not Jacobs. The designer treated his fans to a one-man fashion show, featuring custom Prada coats, Rick Owens platforms and vintage Cartier jewels. Unable to work on his next show and deprived of his usual creative outlets, Jacobs turned himself into the show. His defiant peacocking was balm for the hurt eyes of a WFH world, whose inhabitants had nothing to dress up for and nothing beautiful to look at.

tunic by JW ANDERSON, shoes by PATOU.

The mighty morphing Marc has had many incarnations over the years, from Shy Marc of his early career to Grunge Marc, Gym Marc, Married Marc, Art Marc and even Grindr Marc. Lockdown introduced us to Mannequin Marc, who skilfully edited the season down to the most interesting pieces, and with the most practised eye in the industry, composed his looks like a fashion Mozart. Every morning he would wake up, shower, groom and decide what to wear. “And it would be a full look, even if I just sat on the terrace,” he says. “I thought if I go through the motions of taking care of myself, of dressing up and enjoying it, then I would be in better spirits.”

Work stopped, commerce ceased, social life evaporated, but Jacobs got up every day and served looks. Shared with the world, they acted as a daily reminder, to wearers and watchers alike, that fashion can bring much-needed joy. “I liked the validation of the reaction that people had to it, even when people didn’t like a look or were mean, I was like, ‘Fine, this is what I am doing right now. I am getting dressed up and I’m sharing it,’” he says. Some- times he would accompany his selfies with the caption “How can I be of service today?” “I thought this is how,” he says. “I can take care of myself and get dressed up, post it and maybe it will bring a smile to somebody’s face or maybe it will delight someone. I can’t do much else. I can be a better person to other people if I take care of myself.”

coat by PRADA, gloves and shoes by MARC JACOBS, cuff by HERMÈS.

His daily selfies were a mood-boosting gesture of visual generosity, but there was more to them than that. “On a deeper level, I hate an unmade bed. I find it a sign of depression,” says the designer, who has spoken candidly about his mother’s struggles with mental health during his childhood and how she would be unable to get out of bed for weeks at a time. Jacobs eventually moved in with his grandmother, but those early experiences left him with a horror of external chaos. Add to that his own personal demons – he has overcome alcohol and drug addiction and struggled with mental health issues himself – and you can see why getting dressed is such a sacred ritual for him. “I would have been a catatonic manic depressive if I didn’t have a closet full of clothes to play with.”

Becoming Mannequin Marc (and Mental Health Mentor Marc) is not what Jacobs had planned for 2020. In February, while the sale of his Manhattan house was going through, he moved into the Mercer hotel in SoHo, taking four beaded Prada coats, eight pairs of Rick Owens boots, four Celine jackets and a bag of Marc Jacobs make-up with him. When New York was then plunged into lockdown, his planned two-month stay was extended until the end of May. “I was alone in the hotel. My husband [Char Defrancesco] was in LA. There were two other tenants and four members of staff who had all moved in,” he says of his unusual circumstances.

hoodie, top (worn as skirt) and rug by HEAVEN BY MARC JACOBS, boots by RICK OWENS.

As lockdown progressed, his friend Sofia Coppola advised him to keep busy by making a movie of his confinement, so another friend, Nick Newbold, who took the pictures on these pages, would film him playing different characters in the empty hotel – “The bellman, the maintenance person, the chef in the kitchen, the hotel manager. I just had fun making the best of the situation.”

And it was a bad situation. With shops shut, orders cancelled and supply chains shut down, Covid economics posed an existential threat to his business. Jacobs had to make redundancies and ask the staffers on his runway team to take pay cuts. Then there was the effect lockdown and isolation had on his creativity. The Italian mills he usually turned to for fabric inspiration were shut, and without them he didn’t know where to start. His process, perfected over decades, involves Jacobs communing with a tight group of trusted collaborators, all of whom were suddenly scattered by the pandemic.

Jacobs explains that, often, he doesn’t know exactly what he wants when he begins to work on a collection. It’s only after an intense period of experimentation that he and his team arrive at the final idea. “Normally, there is Katie [Grand], there is a knitwear team, there is a shoe team, there are handbags, there are all these people, and I’d go from team to team. And while I never knew what I was doing exactly, it was by doing all these separate things that the process made the whole.”

top and skirt by NOIR KEI NINOMIYA, shoes by MARC JACOBS.

As a consequence of the first lockdown, he took the difficult decision not to produce a SS21 catwalk collection, nor did he take part in this February’s New York Fashion Week. Without the galvanising prospect of a show, Jacobs is still grappling with how to move forward in a post-Covid world. “The solution would always come to us through the process and now we need to find the solution in order for the process not to be wasteful,” he says of how much his creative process has changed. “We will find our way. We will do something and I am sure that something will be great. I just don’t know what it will be yet.”

His studio is up and running again but things are not the same. Budgets are smaller, they wear masks, socially distance and work with the windows wide open. They talk, says Jacobs, of “how we can move forward being more practical – not holding back in terms of a fantasy, but maybe we will show differently, maybe we will make less and we will go about how we sell it differently and how we show it. So we are all choosing to look at the positive, not the loss.”

jacket, shirt, trousers and bag by BALENCIAGA, shoes by MARC JACOBS.

If his last New York fashion show was to be his swansong, then what a way to sign off. Choreographed by dancer and choreographer Karole Armitage, a hundred dancers and models threw frenetic shapes or posed coolly. There were Jackie O coats, debutante gowns and beatnik leathers. Miley Cyrus even took a surprise turn on the catwalk. It was all delivered with the kind of fashion conviction and emotional power that only Jacobs can harness. He’s rightly proud of it, although he doesn’t know when he will be able to do something like it again. “I think a spectacle of that sort… It may be the last and it may be the last for a while,” he says.

The only way is forward. Jacobs fights the temptation to give in to nostalgia but admits to the occasional wobble. “I’m so emotionally and habitually attached to the way we did things and how we did them and how we showed them and to whom. It’s very emotionally difficult,” he says with characteristic honesty. “One can say it’s the end of an era or you can say it’s the beginning of an era. It’s hard for me. Today, I choose to look at it as the beginning of an era, but most days, even in my positive attitude, I still drift back into thinking, ‘I don’t know how to do this this way,’ or ‘This isn’t my world,’ or ‘I miss the good old days.’ I drift back so quickly.”

cape, trousers, badge and shoes by RAF SIMONS.

One thing keeping him in the present is Heaven, the polysexual collection of brilliant tees, hoodies and basics overseen by the curator Ava Nirui, under the Marc Jacobs umbrella. Nirui reinterprets Jacobs’s vast back catalogue of cultural moments and collaborates with a new generation of artists. “It’s about community and creativity and being accessible without sacrificing any aesthetics or credibility,” says Jacobs. He loves Nirui’s take on his legacy: “She was able to do something that, while it looked back, had no type of retro-ness. It was all done with a very contemporary eye and for a current audience.” Launched just as the world had fully embraced WFH sweats, it’s been a huge hit.

Everything has changed but all is not lost. A new decade takes shape and Marc Jacobs is still a cultural touchstone. His talent has always intersected with the times. He’s had many lives and many looks and has never lost his love of clothes, but now there are other things that matter too. “I still want to make fashion and I still feel like I have a story to tell, but I would like to become the person that does something else as well, something for others,” he says. Philanthropist Marc could very well be his next incarnation.

jacket, coat and shirt by JUNYA WATANABE, shoes by MARC JACOBS.

Cover image: jacket and trousers by GUCCI, poloneck by JOHN SMEDLEY, hat by MANT-LE, necklace by GRIMA, bracelets by CARTIER and ERIC ORIGINALS & ANTIQUES, ring by SOLANGE AZAGURY-PARTRIDGE, shoes by MARC JACOBS.

Issue 66 of 10 Magazine – MY, HAPPY, PLACE – is on newsstands Monday, March 15. Pre-order your copy here.


Photographer Nicolas Newbold
Styling  Julio Espada
Text Claudia Croft
Hair Sandy Hullett for Guido Palau
Make-up Andrew Colvin using Marc Jacobs Beauty
Talent Marc Jacobs
Fashion co-ordinator Garth Allday Spencer
Hair colourist Victoria Hunter at Whittemore House
Nail technician Jin Soon Choi at Home Agency
Fashion assistants Frankie Reffell and Zac Apostolou
Thanks to Michael Ariano