Shedding the youthful innocence of his previous scents, Marc Jacobs wants women to fulfill their pleasure principle with Decadence. By LESA HANNAH
IT’S A MAY MORNING AT PIER 59 STUDIOS
in New York, and, inside a cavernous photo studio that smells faintly of cigarette smoke, Marc Jacobs is scrolling through his phone. It would be fair to assume he’s on Instagram; the designer started an account in March, even though just a month prior he told British fashion critic Suzy Menkes that social media appalled him. Now, he floods his feed almost daily with selfies. “I’m very flip that way,” he says. “I didn’t want any part of social media, then one day I woke up and said, ‘I want to have an Instagram account.’”
Sudden about-faces are what Jacobs does with his fashion collections, zigzagging from strict and tailored one season to loose and layered the next. But his fragrances Daisy, Lola and Dot have all been youthful, playful and free-spirited, from the tactile flowers and ladybugs that decorate the bottles to their respective light and bright Juergen Teller-shot campaigns. Daisy, in particular, “has the spirit of something very fresh and innocent,” says Jacobs. “It’s sweet. There’s a naiveté.”
That’s all changing with Decadence embodied in the campaign by Brazilian model Adriana Lima—known predominantly for being a wing-wearing Victoria’s Secret Angel—and not at all in keeping with Jacobs’s past faces like Sofia Coppola or Dakota Fanning. He seems to have abandoned the shy girl who’s a little awkward for a womanly siren who gives in to her whims. “Decadence is really about indulgence and pleasure and luxury,” he says. “It’s this indulgent behaviour but there’s still a kind of charm to it.”
To convey the sentiment, Jacobs wanted the bottle to look like an opulent handbag. “I liked the idea of some kind of talisman that’s very close to a woman’s sensibility,” he says. Instead of plastic blooms and insects, the designer chose elements like emerald python, a silk tassel and a gold chain. “There’s something a bit mysterious and sultry, and something you want to see or feel. It’s so opposite to what we’ve done before.” In a similar vein, the scent itself is more exotic than past ones, which were bubbly and light. “I wanted this to have a richness and sensuality, and to be a much deeper fragrance,” he says.
Growing up, Jacobs watched his mother and grandmother engage in a daily transformation that involved scent, makeup and clothing. “I looked at that and thought, ‘How lucky are women to indulge in that?’” But he is most intrigued by how people decide to portray themselves. “I’ve always been fascinated by the choices that people make—what they put on in terms of showing the world who they’d like them to think they are that day, that moment, that hour. The psychology of it is really incredible.”