It might just be the hottest ticket of the week. Everyone wants to see what Marc Jacobs will show on Saturday (also his 31st birthday), in his first collection since he left Perry Ellis last year.
“Of course, there’s pressure,” Jacobs says. “Every time you do a show there’s more pressure than the time before, for whatever reason — the last show was good or it was bad or you had a year off. That’s the business.”
Although they’ve had more than 1,000 requests for invitations, Jacobs and his business partner Robert Duffy are launching the collection in a small downtown space, in front of a cozy group of about 200.
“There’s a reality to the business side here,” Jacobs explains. “All of these people spend so much money to put on a show for so many other people who can’t do anything for them. Some buying office calls for an invitation, and they buy moderately priced clothes. They can’t buy this stuff, and I can’t afford to entertain them.”
In fact, only five stores were invited, with the bulk of the seats reserved for press. “I have been successful — by my definition of success — due largely to publicity,” Jacobs says. “My attitude is that we have to reach people. Magazines are a catalog of sorts, a catalog to an elitist few.”
When Jacobs and Duffy decided to set up shop, they found an airy 4,000-square-foot space in SoHo, because, according to the designer, “We couldn’t physically see ourselves starting off on Seventh Avenue again.” In exchange for a percentage of future licensing income, Perry Ellis invested startup capital, but Jacobs and Duffy own the new company. “We are very financially sound,” Duffy says. “We’re organized.”
He claims they have “enough cash flow for two years,” including revenue from Jacobs’ three-year consulting contract with the Japanese firm Renown Look and another with Iceberg. In addition, they’re working on developing a licensing network and have already signed two deals, which they won’t disclose until after the show. They’ve also scheduled meetings with jeans and men’s wear manufacturers.
As for the new collection itself, Jacobs would rather let the clothes do the talking Saturday. He’ll say only that they’re expensive, and that he’s showing two lengths — “covering the crotch and just baring the knee.”
“I didn’t preview with anyone,” he adds, explaining why he won’t allow a visitor an impromptu preview. (A glance at the racks showed lots of color and hints of a sampling of fake fur.) “I don’t know what it will look like until I put it together on the girls, so what’s the point? For editors to know that I did mohair and fake fur before Europe? Why? It doesn’t mean that they’ll like it any better.”