Kim Bui Kollar records her thoughts on how Marc Jacobs has changed the global style landscape through her interview with the designer
Though he needa little in the way of introductions, it's no embellishment to say that MARC JACOBS has changed the global style landscape forever. KIM BUI KOLLAR sts down for a chat in Shangai with the American fashion powerhouse
MEGA. SUPER. MAGIC. These are a few words I would use to describe the autumn/winter 2018 Marc Jacobs collection. The shapes, the colours and the proportions are all strong. Those words also apply to the photo shoot we staged to present this collection. With Marc Jacobs himself present, we had famed photographer Chen Man behind the lens and three global Chinese cover girls: Xiaowen Ju, Emma Pei and Xiaoxing Li. There was nothing small or indistinct about anyone in the room or their contributions to fashion – in fact, Xiaowen was the first Chinese model to be a face for a Marc Jacobs campaign, so it was nice to be there as things came full circle.
I suppose meeting Marc Jacobs at the age of 40 despite having followed his work since I was 12 is better late than never. Jacobs had a huge part in defi ning the new state of fashion in 1992, which saturated the magazine pages from US Vogue to ultra- cool publications like Sassy, long before the internet and social media were taken for granted. The power of Jacobs reached all the way to a small suburban town in Southern California, where I grew up. I still have a copy of the US Vogue editorial that was shot by Steven Meisel and styled by Grace Coddington, featuring Naomi Campbell, Kristen McMenamy and Nadja Auermann in the “grunge” collection that Jacobs designed for Perry Ellis (also his last for the brand).
Few moments in fashion have caused such a reaction in the industry – and I hate to sound like a broken record, but this was also before social media, which would have made for such a different business outcome for Perry Ellis. The kids would have been all over it. They would have shown the world how to wear it in their everyday lives, no matter the city. This was during the era that Kurt Cobain and Nirvana were part of a defi ning subculture. The kids spoke and the retailers ate it up. There had been nothing like it before – and it was just so cool. There are few moments like this in modern fashion; Vetements, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Miguel Adrover are just a handful of the names in my lifetime.
Jacobs is in Shanghai to attend the HY Fashion Awards, where he will receive the top honours. (To give some context, Karl Lagerfeld was last year's recipient.) This is Jacobs's second time to the city, but he's the fi rst to admit that he hasn't seen much of it. Last time he was here, there was little free time due to the show preparations for Louis Vuitton and the press interviews taking place in the hotel. This time around, Jacobs is travelling with his fiancé, Char Defrancesco – who I'm convinced is the defi nition of “fun” – and his immediate team. At fi rst glance, they all have various aesthetics and tastes, but collectively there's a nice feeling of camaraderie amongst the group in the dressing room where Jacobs and I chat. Outside is our fashion shoot with three Chinese cover models and photographer Chen Man's massive team – there's a lot going on.
Interestingly, Jacobs hasn't seen much of Asia at all. This comes to me as bit of surprise; going into the interview, I had a burning question in my pocket regarding the designer's fi rst meeting with Bryanboy. When I visited Manila years ago, I was told by several people that Bryanboy had purchased the most expensive bag at
Louis Vuitton during one of Jacobs's visits. This purchase earned him a meeting with the creative director, who then invited him to sit in the front row at his shows – I was ready to credit the entire birth of the fashion social media ecosphere to Jacobs. However, he quickly corrects me – he has, in fact, never been to Manila. He does love Bryanboy, though, and has even named a bag after him.