TOTAL EXPOSURE: Marc Jacobs is clearly proud of his bod — and bares it all again in the latest edition of Visionaire. The 168-page oversize book, sponsored by Louis Vuitton, includes nude photographs of a bevy of models, actors and celebrities, including Jacobs, this edition’s guest editor. Visionaire co-founder Stephen Gan said the concept was conceived more than two years ago and most of the photos were taken late last year. “The idea was to do personal nudes of famous people. We came up with a list of who are considered the most beautiful people in the world,” he explained. That list includes Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Mariah Carey, Drew Barrymore, Naomi Campbell, Scarlett Johansson, Christy Turlington, Gisele Bündchen, Jamie Dornan and Selma Blair, all shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. Though most of the images are quite revealing, “not everyone is stark naked,” Gan said (Lopez and Anthony appear clothed, most of the models, including Daria Werbowy and Natalia Vodianova, do not). Thus, the latest edition is entitled “Private.”
Photographs of Jacobs appear in the last pages of the book, where he appears lying across an oversize teddy bear in one image and draped in black rope in several others. (“His photographs were not retouched,” a Visionaire staffer added.) Jacobs is no stranger to baring it all: He appeared naked on the September cover of Out magazine, and on the cover of WWD in September 2006, along with his business partner, Robert Duffy, to raise awareness of skin cancer. And Jacobs hasn’t posed naked only when he’s fit — the designer also bared all for Vanity Fair in the Nineties.
Voyeurs and others can buy the issue for $375 beginning in early October; 2,500 copies will be printed. But before sulking at the hefty price tag, consider “Private” will be sold in a limited edition Louis Vuitton gold monogrammed case. At least they thought to dress the book up, even if its subjects inside aren’t. — Stephanie D. Smith
DONATELLA REALLY WORKS: The cover of The New Yorker’s semiannual style issue is a play on the old woman who lived in a shoe, this time with a massive pink platform mary jane invading the footwear neighborhood. Articles and fashion editor Susan Morrison said the cover, drawn by Bruce McCall, was inspired by seeing the shoe “practically everywhere — in our cafeteria, in magazines, on the street.” Elsewhere in the issue, Lauren Collins profiles Donatella Versace, the product of a year of spending time with the designer, Morrison said. “[Versace’s] external image is like a cartoon character, a disco-queen party girl. But what you learn in the story is that in fact the reality belies that image. She’s an incredibly diligent, hardworking designer who has added her own signature to Versace.” There’s also a profile of Paper magazine editor Kim Hastreiter, whom Morrison termed the “guardian of the last fragments of downtown.”
On a more scholarly note, business columnist James Surowiecki argues against strengthened intellectual property laws, saying copying and knockoffs in fashion stimulate productivity and innovation. Surowiecki points out there is “little evidence that knockoffs are damaging” the luxury fashion business (not exactly a stance that will please the magazine’s fashion and luxury goods advertisers). He cites a paper by two law professors (who also made their case in The New Republic in August) positing that, in an industry that can offer few engineering improvements to convince consumers to buy something new, knockoffs create “induced obsolescence:” when a trend becomes easily accessible and ubiquitous, early adopters move on and generate “the incessant demand for something new.” Moreover, Surowiecki argues that the knockoffs “are, for the most part, targeted at an entirely different market segment — people who appreciate high style but can’t afford high prices.” Knockoffs, he writes, may even act as “gateway drugs,” encouraging buyers to someday buy the originals. But he does draw a distinction between counterfeits — which are illegal — and knockoffs which, for the moment, are not.
At 105 pages, advertising for the issue is up 25 percent over last year, which was flat over 2005. Brands advertising in the issue include Louis Vuitton, Dior, Giorgio Armani and Bulgari. — Irin Carmon