By  on September 21, 2010

The much-anticipated e-commerce site for Marc Jacobs is finally launching — at press time, it was set to go up Monday night — and, like the brand, it will be playful and unique.

Most unusually, the site mixes illustration with photography and video. Illustrations of actual sales people dressed in Marc Jacobs clothes appear on the site, and their outfits and identities will change over time. Shoppers can click on illustrated items to buy. The home­page shows an illustration of a store entrance with actual runway video from both of the brand’s collections playing in the windows.

The object was to “bring alive the store,” said James Gardner, founder and chief executive officer of Createthe Group, the online design firm that has worked with Marc Jacobs since 2004. “It’s going back to the roots of the Marc Jacobs brand, which is to be fun, entertaining, engaging and cool.” The overall feel of the site is personal and quaint rather than slick and high-tech.

The store will sell all categories from Marc Jacobs as well as Marc by Marc Jacobs, although not everything will be online. The idea is to start with a smaller, curated selection of items picked by Jacobs and the firm’s president, Robert Duffy.

“Special items” — those very inexpensive gifts and accessories found on Bleecker Street in Manhattan and some other Marc Jacobs stores, such as San Francisco — will not be available online, although the look book will be.

Prices range from about $30 for perfume to about $8,000 for a fur coat.

Since the site does not use Flash, it will work smoothly on mobile phones and the iPad.

Although the company has taken its time with e-commerce, it was one of the first brands to start posting runway video online immediately after its shows, and was also the first fashion company to make use of Foursquare earlier this year. Duffy has also taken up tweeting.

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