The one person who has been a constant collaborator, champion, and partner for Jacobs over the years is Robert Duffy, who first teamed up with Jacobs 26 years ago when the world hardly seemed ready for a mix of young street and provocative high fashion. DUFFY: Be glad you’re not in New York, because it’s 103 degrees. I just really don’t think I’ve felt this physically crappy in about four years. I’m now Skypeing my shrink and my surgeon, standing in front of the video screen and the doctor is seeing how much I can raise my arm. But there was a whole period where I was very happy to stay in. Sometimes it hurts my feelings, but basically I’m really happy with the attention that we get.
Since then they have built a company that now verges on an empire, comprising clothes, shoes, accessories, stores, fragrances, and even a new men’s scent, appropriately dubbed Bang. He says, “You’re probably doing too much.” I said, “I can’t be doing less! I was in my studio for many hours a day—sometimes working and sometimes sleeping. Sometimes that attention is great, like when we get attention for doing a great show or our sales are good or even attention for walking down the street and looking sexy. But unfortunately along with that comes a lot of negative comments: “Oh, we miss the old Marc.” “It was much better when he was grungy.” Da, da, da, da . It’s more work-related than what I’m going through in my personal life.
Every action has a reaction, and with everything we do there is a consequence. But I know we both have our frustrations about this subject—probably you more than I because you protect me from all of it. People want to know if there is a conflict of interest in designing those separate brands. And, secondly, geographically they are in two different places.
I started Twittering and we had so many followers, but then the corporate lawyers took me off it. As our company gets bigger, you and I seem to be more censored. I am Marc Jacobs by birth, but we are Marc Jacobs by the company that we built.
So that’s been our relationship since I’ve known you from 20,000 years ago. [laughs] DUFFY: We both work at Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs. JACOBS: First of all there are two separate teams, so even if we have the same impulses within a given season, the ways they manifest themselves are so different.