Byline: Bridget Foley, September 1989

Marc Jacobs seems different these days. A ponytail still trickles down his back, and he still feasts on his usual round-the-clock meal of coffee and cigarettes. He remains engaging and hasn’t taken to skirting questions.
But Jacobs comes across as a much mellowed-out rendition of the bouncy, barely post-adolescent prodigy who first sold dot-happy sweaters to Charivari on his well-documented rise to fashion fame.
Jacobs, however, attributes his subdued mood simply to the time of day — 9:30 a.m. — and suggests that by 3 in the afternoon, he’ll be as frenetic as ever.
Or, perhaps, as frenetic as the past five years have been. In that time, Jacobs, 26, has been in and out of business the way teenagers fall in and out of love. Marc’s not a kid anymore.
“If it were all fun, it wouldn’t be called work,” Jacobs says.
“I had this major revelation,” Jacobs explains. “For once, I feel so unaffected by everything that’s going on around me. I’m going to design exactly what I want to design. People will like it or not like it.”
Jacobs and his business partner, Robert Duffy, now president of Perry Ellis Women’s Wear, came from a situation in which they handled everything, from design to sales to overseeing production and shipping. Regardless of the backer of the moment, it was, day-to-day, a two-man show.
Now, Jacobs is focusing on designing spring. He’s “crazy for Mia Farrow” — in her youthful, pixie-haired “Peyton Place” stage — “this skinny little elongated girl.” Mia’s inspiration is turning up in looks that are more leisurely than career-oriented. And Jacobs says, “I’m in a mood all of a sudden for fashion.” This means dramatically dropped waists, a la the Paris couture; extremes of length, short and long; muted brights; items such as a leopard-printed mackintoshes.
“Everything today is called fashion. But really, it’s just clothes,” Jacobs observes.