Earlier this week, in the latest installment of her “Fashion Icons” interview series, industry insider Fern Mallis — the creator of New York Fashion Week — sat down with the always intriguing designer Marc Jacobs for an intimate session of Q&A at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y.
A very fit-looking Jacobs, in a trim tailored suit and white sneakers, was immaculately groomed and exuded a healthy glow. As Mallis outlined the designer’s life in chronological order, he commented candidly about a variety of topics — both professional and personal. While the designer’s career milestones and headline-making life events might be common knowledge to the fashion set, the interview was full of interesting lesser-known tidbits, thanks to Mallis’ thoughtful moderating and Jacobs’ engaging openness.
- Jacobs’ father, who died of cancer at age 32 when Marc was seven, was a talent agent for William Morris Agency; Joan Rivers was among his clients.
- After acknowledging that he didn’t have the greatest childhood or relationship with his nuclear family, Jacobs named his paternal grandmother as a great influence. He moved in with her at the Majestic on 72nd Street and Central Park West as a teen. Needlepoint was among the many things that she taught him.
- Jacobs said that his longest human relationship in life has been with business partner Robert Duffy; they met when Jacobs’ senior collection at Parsons — 3 hand-knit Op-art sweaters — caught Duffy’s eye.
- Bill Cunningham gave Jacobs’ his first major exposure; Cunningham featured sweaters that Jacobs created for the “Sketchbook” label (by historic Manhattan boutique Charivari) in his column in The New York Times.
- Fellow designers Tracy Reese and Tom Ford were two of Jacobs’ first hires when he took the helm at Perry Ellis at age 25.
- The fragrance “Daisy” is named after Jacobs’ dog, as well as The Great Gatsby’s Daisy Buchanan — his favorite character in his favorite book.
- Rei Kawakubo and Miuccia Prada top the list of designers that Jacobs most respects.