Calvin Kleins Interviews Marc Jacobs For Harper's Bazaar Magazine

CK: How do you put a collection together? Where does it start? What is your inspiration?
MJ: I usually start out by saying I have no idea what we’re doing, because I don’t. It starts out the same way every time. I just sit there with my team, and I say, “Does anyone have any ideas, anyone have any thoughts?” I’m terrible with a blank piece of paper, so I can’t get started looking at nothing. But if someone shows me six pieces of fabric, I’ll say, “I don’t like this, I don’t like this, but that’s interesting.” And that interesting thing might not last. But it’s a catalyst, and it gets the ball rolling.
I’m very arbitrary. I like to take on the thing I don’t like at the moment. I like to find something that looks wrong or feels off, something that I would never have done in the past, like brocade. And then all of a sudden, if we can make brocade work, then we’ve really done something, because I hate it. And that’s just a reference. I don’t actually hate brocade.
CK: How do you separate them in your mind when you are doing your collections — Marc Jacobs, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and Louis Vuitton?MJ: I hope to not be too spiritual about this, but I end up being where I am. When I’m in Paris, I’m a foreigner. I’m a little bit detached. Like the Vuitton job, which is an amazing job, and I love doing it, but it’s kind of an alter ego. It’s so much more of an overt personality, it’s so about being recognized with the logos, and it’s so glossy and so extroverted — and it’s not who I am, but it’s a role I like to play. I’m an American in Paris being a French designer, having the people come with the embroidery samples and the button samples. It’s very French fashion design. I think of it like I’m in a movie. Like it’s not real.
Here in New York, I’m much more connected — where I’m in a gallery, and then I go to work or a museum or whatever. And my friends are here, so bits of conversation get taken to work, but I do end up doing what I have to do when I’m in the place where I am.
CK: I read somewhere that you were working out two and a half hours a day, six days a week. And on this diet that was very strict.MJ: I had 21 percent body fat four years ago. I was in and out of the hospital because I had flare-ups of ulcerative colitis. I’d be in the office for 16 hours a day, six of which were in the bathroom because I was so ill. I ate nothing but junk food. Basically, the doctor said, “We’re going to have to remove your colon.” And I said, “I’m not doing that!”
So I went to a nutritionist named Lindsey Duncan, and he said, “If you are 100 percent compliant with what I tell you to do, you will be in better shape than you’ve ever been in, and you will not have to have your colon removed.” I said, “Okay, sign me up.” He said no caffeine, no sugar, no white flour, no dairy from a cow, take açaí every morning, goji, noni, mangosteen, et cetera, omega-3, wheatgrass shots with ginger. The list is endless.
He said, “You gotta laugh every day, you gotta rest every day, and you have to perspire every day, which means you have to go to the gym.” I hadn’t stepped foot in a gym. Well, I hadn’t walked a block in 20 years. So I started, and like everything — I say this, and I hope it’s not misinterpreted, but I like what makes me feel better. That probably doesn’t come as a shock.
When I started to feel better, and when my stomach wasn’t hurting, and when I wasn’t on the toilet all day, and when I could look at myself in the mirror, and when I went from 21 percent body fat to 5 percent body fat and I had muscle, I was like, This is great!
When guys started looking at me and asking me out on dates, I felt way better about myself. So it was hard to keep my clothes on, actually. And whenever I was asked to take my clothes off, I was like, “Sure! I haven’t worked out for three years to keep this all under wraps.” Everything changed. I cut my hair, I got contact lenses, I started to groom and get manicures and pedicures. I started to get my hair cut every two weeks.
Before, I never took care of my appearance. I was like, “Who cares? I’m in the studio 16 hours a day, and nobody sees me.” Everything, it all sort of changed. My home life changed. I wanted to have people over for dinner. I cared about interiors because I wanted to have guests over all the time.


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