Controversy, it seems, comes naturally to Marc Jacobs. From his thought-provoking collections to last season’s late, late start—now the stuff of industry legend—consciously or subconsciously, he’s bound to spice up the circuit. This time around, things took a stranger turn, as his company, Marc Jacobs International, found itself at the center of an actual criminal investigation. Fashion tongues were set wagging due to a bribery scandal involving the 69th Regiment Armory, Jacobs’ regular show space for several years. Through its public relations firm, the company allegedly paid off the Armory’s former superintendent, James Jackson, a public employee, to secure the site. Jackson was indicted on charges of soliciting more than $30,000 since 2000 to allow the designer to use the space.
The story broke smack in the middle of fashion week, and all the major New York newspapers splashed it across their pages, but the jaded fashion community took the news in stride. “All [Jackson] was trying to do was wet his beak,” said industry veteran Paul Wilmot, owner of Paul Wilmot Communications. “He got a [Bowflex] exercise machine, not even a car. I’m happy the attorney general has unearthed this guy, but it’s pretty small potatoes.”
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