Marc Jacobs: Dig­i­tal Daddy

Started with his bottom, now he’s here.

If Insta­gram were God, we’d be its loy­al dis­ci­ples – mind­less­ly swip­ing, zap­ping our brain cells and neglect­ing our therapist’s advice on self-worth. The main ingre­di­ents of Insta­gram are, of course, the sell­ing of diar­rhoea-induc­ing weight loss teas by var­i­ous Kar­dashi­an-Jen­ners, unwar­rant­ed ads sus­pi­cious­ly track­ing our search his­to­ries, and every sin­gle pap shot of 90s Moss-Depp ever made. But, amongst this, lies hope. Hope that some­where on the gram there’s a glis­ten­ing mes­si­ah, a pres­ence that speaks to us on a deep­er lev­el. We’re not talk­ing about @notallgeminis (although they, eeri­ly, do under­stand the mass­es), but Marc Jacobs. One time repeller of social media, Jacobs has eased into the role of a com­fort­ing, encour­ag­ing dig­i­tal dad­dy, and we’re here for it.

I am so appalled by the whole social media thing,” Jacobs told Suzy Menkes in an inter­view with Vogue, adding I don’t get it, it doesn’t appeal to me, nei­ther does a com­put­er, or work­ing on a lap­top.” But this was 2015 and things change. For this is not the Marc Jacobs we know and love today, and it all start­ed with that acci­den­tal butt self­ie, hilar­i­ous­ly cap­tioned: It’s yours to try!”.

In today’s throw­away con­tent cul­ture, a celebri­ty nude is noth­ing new. From real­i­ty TV stars to Hol­ly­wood elite, unpack­ing the meat is a mere Google search away. But with each nude upload comes the PR-orches­trat­ed apol­o­gy in an attempt to sal­vage their high­ly-pol­ished image and crum­bling dig­ni­ty (see the usu­al, I apol­o­gise, I didn’t intend for any­one to see this!” or Prince Harry’s clas­sic case of me being too much army and not enough roy­al”).

Jacobs, how­ev­er, flipped this age-old oper­a­tion on its head. There was no state­ment of regret, no rehearsed script to fol­low and, thank­ful­ly, no awk­ward Blair Witch-style face-to-cam­era apol­o­gy. Jacobs was total­ly, whole­heart­ed­ly hon­est as he dropped the mic with: Yeah. I acci­den­tal­ly post­ed a pic of my bare ass and took it down. I was flirt­ing with some­one I met on Insta­gram. Meant to send it by DM. Oops, my mis­take. I apol­o­gise to any­one it offend­ed. I’m a gay man. I flirt and chat with guys online some­times. BIG DEAL!”.

Big deal, indeed. Jacobs silenced the nude leak patrol in a brat­ty, total­ly war­rant­ed shut-down because he, frankly, didn’t care for this acci­den­tal slip; he’s nor­mal like the rest of us (even if his pre­ferred mode of trans­port is a pri­vate jet). Jacobs’ ear­ly defi­ance of being shamed was step one in his evo­lu­tion into the dig­i­tal dad­dy he is today – stick­ing a slick mid­dle fin­ger up at the trolls who dare to pass judgement.

Since butt-gate, Jacobs has formed a well-doc­u­ment­ed love affair with 37-year-old Swiss-born Char Defrancesco. In a long-await­ed fol­low-up to his now famous, flash-mob pro­pos­al in Chipo­tle last year – the couple’s favourite restau­rant” – the duo tied the knot ear­li­er this month in front of a guest list that would put the MET Gala to shame. From Deb­bie Har­ry to Debi Mazar, Lil Kim to Kate Moss – every­one worth nam­ing was in atten­dance at the extrav­a­gant cer­e­mo­ny. But lav­ish set-up aside, Jacobs’ speech, which fash­ion crit­ic Hamish Bowles report­ed on, was where he real­ly let his guard down in a moment of heart-warm­ing dec­la­ra­tion: Char, my love, in my dark­est, loneli­est moment you came into my life like some giant hap­py face and made me laugh and smile,” Jacobs said. In that moment I felt safe and loved… what you have giv­en me is… the dream of the hap­py for­ev­er.” In an indus­try full of hard nuts, where a smile is a sign of weak­ness, it was exact­ly the kind of open­ness that has mould­ed the Jacobs of 2019 into the role of social sup­port­er, hav­ing shed his enfant ter­ri­ble image some time ago.

Today, the design­er uses his posi­tion and pow­er to cel­e­brate young cre­atives, by plac­ing them under his tat­tooed bicep: whether that’s by col­lab­o­rat­ing on a hood­ie with Ava Nirui, giv­ing a shout out to writer Pam Boy, or host­ing Tokyo-based design­er Tomo Koizu­mis first col­lec­tion at his Madi­son Avenue store. And while it may be fair to say many design­ers are pub­lic in their sup­port for young tal­ent, very few are as dili­gent in high­light­ing the stren­u­ous behind-the-scenes mak­ing of a col­lec­tion as Jacobs: shar­ing clips inside Marc Jacobs HQ fol­lowed by cap­tions detail­ing the rig­or­ous work that goes into pro­duc­ing some of the most high­ly-acclaimed shows of his 30-year career. His A-team, Katie Grand and Ani­ta Bit­ton, make cameos through­out, but it’s the design­er right­ful­ly plac­ing the fac­to­ry work­ers, knit design­ers and pro­duc­tion staff on a shiny pedestal, like the car­ing dig­i­tal dad­dy that he is.

Jacobs is show­ing the world, one post at a time, that he’s hap­py, mad­ly in love with Char Defrancesco and ulti­mate­ly liv­ing his best life. Crit­ics come and go but if there’s any­thing to learn from Marc Jacobs, it’s that shar­ing real­ly can mean car­ing. He’s the dig­i­tal dad­dy we didn’t ask for but cer­tain­ly need in these tox­ic times, so when you’re aim­less­ly scrolling through your feed and stum­ble upon a post where the design­er is shout­ing out his staff, his hus­band, his dog, or treat­ing us to a throw­back, take a sec­ond to remem­ber that not all heroes wear capes. Some wear Stan Smiths.

00:00 / 00:00