Thursday, January 20, 2011
incredible design, incredible access
When you think of clothes and accessories that are designed with incredible precision, passion, attention to detail, and overloaded with luxury and style, you probably think of outrageous price tags, selfish and stuffy designers, and exclusivity so intense and out of reach that you never get a glimpse of the designer or even the design process, let alone be able to buy any of the items.
Now take a look at Marc Jacobs. He is the creative genius behind Louis Vuitton, and his own brands Marc by Marc Jacobs and Marc Jacobs collection. His designers are not only sought after, they're coveted for their brilliant designs, durability, comfort, and overall bad-ass existence. From the fabric selection to the cut to way the garment drapes, down to the threads and zippers - everything is chosen for a reason. That reason is in the name of perfection. From basic t-shirts to the most intricate handbags, Marc Jacobs knows fashion. And now, you can know Marc.
His latest philanthropic effort is a book called The Men + Women of Marc Jacobs. It features a collection of stunning photographs of employees from around the world, dressed in none other than Marc Jacobs, and also includes photographs of those behind the scenes, behind the cash registers, and behind the business desk of the powerful brand: including Marc, business guru Robert Duffy (who I lovingly refer to as RDuff) and assistant Reese. The pictures weren't really planned. It all started when photographer Brian Bowen Smith was traveling with MJ and Co. around the world for store openings and business meetings. During down town, Brian started taking pictures of the staff. And before you know it, an entire collection of incredibly creative, vivacious photographs had amassed and BAM! the book was reality. And the pictures aren't even the best part - the proceeds benefit Breast Cancer research and advocacy. (In 2006 MJ featured an entire skin cancer campaign, featuring naked celebrities on tshirts, also photographed by BBS).
So now, business trips are turning into "book parties", giving even more access to customers, and giving more opportunity for shoppers to actually live the idea of the brand. Marc Jacobs isn't just a designer. His empire is a lifestyle. From his clothing and accessories shops, to his bookstores (playfully named bookmarc) to the next best creative outlet we don't even expect, everything Marc touches is magnetic and marvelous.
So here's a glimpse into one of the book signing parties recently from Europe.
And as if communicating directly with customers and fans through social media wasn't awesome enough (you can find them on Twitter, Facebook, and a host of other media channels. It wouldn't surprise me if we started seeing designer messenger pigeons, if that's what it takes to spread the message of style and fashion and love!). MJ and Co. are constantly updating fans on what's happening behind the brand - from fabric selection to travel plans. Recently RDuff posted a photographic of a prototype messenger bag for men and invited followers to comment; after overwhelming responses, the bag is now off the future production schedule.
When I think about other designers I love, there's a mystery and disconnect that seems to work for them. Maison Martin Margiela will always be one of my favourite designs, and he will always be the most evasive, unknown person. It's said that The Men + Women of Marc Jacobs isn't just a collection of beautiful photographs of beautiful employees of a global fashion powerhouse - to those who work with the brand - it's a family photo album.
Marc Jacobs isn't just changing the world of fashion. He's changing the world of people. One tweet at a time.