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11 posts tagged "Robert Duffy"

What It’s Really Like To Work For Marc


Most employees finish the workday and clock out. Not Marc Jacobs’. Moments after the designer took his runway bow after his Spring ’11 collection show, a friends-and-family crowd—including many of Jacobs’ own employees—headed downtown to celebrate their boss. And, incidentally, themselves. In conjunction with the new Bookmarc book store on Bleecker Street, the company has just published Brian Bowen Smith’s The Men and Women of Marc Jacobs, a collection of photos of the extremely photogenic MJ workforce. The steamy launch fête (“I lost five pounds in there,” one partygoer cried) and gallery exhibition stretched through two rented buildings adjacent to the Bleecker Street Marc by Marc shop, as well as across the street at Bookmarc.

Having spent four years documenting the faces of Marc Jacobs employees, photographer Brian Bowen Smith (who got his start as a model and, subsequently, assistant to Herb Ritts) is as bona fide an expert on the company as they come. “This isn’t a family you can just jump into. It’s a gift,” Smith (left, with Jacobs) says. “Robert [Duffy, Marc Jacobs’ president] is the kind of guy that will go through the trenches with you, do the same shit with you, eat at the same table as you, and make everyone feel as though they’re all on one plane. Marc is the same way.”

“I think it’s just that they all stay forever. We have a really low turnover rate,” Duffy says of the company’s family feel. And why’s that? “We give them raises, clothing allowances, and pay their medical benefits, and just treat them how I would want to be treated.” Doesn’t sound like a bad gig. But, as warm and fuzzy as MJ HQ may be, Duffy admits that there is one aspect of interoffice relations he’d like to change. “Marc is constantly blowing smoke in my face for two solid weeks in our office while getting our show together. I want him to quit smoking and to quit blowing it in my face.”

Secondhand smoke aside, the celebration left more than one guest wishing they, too, could join the family. “I could do anything,” Bryanboy exclaimed. “I could be the girl sitting behind the water cooler, I would be a fitting assistant. I could be in the closet. Anything, really.”

Photo: Chance Yeh/Patrick McMullan

Matthew Williamson Thinks Pink, Louis Vuitton Goes Green, And More…


Vodka-inspired fashion may sound like a terrible idea, but leave it to Matthew Williamson to make even the slightly soused look chic. His new pink caftan (pictured) is inspired by Belvedere’s new pink grapefruit flavor. [WWD]

Congratulations to Marc Jacobs president Robert Duffy, who married his partner, Alexis Cespedes, last week and nabbed that most coveted wedding accessory—no, not the ring, the Times announcement. [NYT]

Is Deacon in at Ungaro? Following a week of rampant Internet speculation, Jason Campbell says (rather, tweets) yes. [Fashionista]

A convenient truth: Santa Monica Place shopping center will be home to the world’s first LEED-certified Louis Vuitton store. [Racked]

Photo: Courtesy of Matthew Williamson

A Marc Jacobs Wedding, MObama China, And More…


Google “Marriage, Marc Jacobs + Massachusetts” and you’ll finally get something substantiated: Marc Jacobs president Robert Duffy announced plans to wed boyfriend Alex Cespedes next Tuesday in Provincetown, MA. As for Marc, he’s reported to be the best man, but we’re still holding out hope for a double wedding. [WWD]

The bevy of experienced, curvier models that proliferated on the Fall runways begs the question: older models in, younger models out? “We wanted to acknowledge women who have always worn our clothes, women with their own identities, have full lives, have kids,” says Francisco Costa. If they happen to be or have been Victoria’s Secret models, that probably doesn’t hurt either. [HuffPo]

The FNO brand is growing: Fashion’s Night Out is introducing edgier tees, tanks, and a hoodie for shoppers to buy and wear on September 10. You have five months to plan your outfit. [WWD]

A series of new commemorative plates features the First Lady in some of her standout finery. “Richly edged in platinum,” these are surely a must for any fashion-forward Washington hostess. [NYT]

Aggy’s got a brand new ‘do. Is it just us, or do we see shades of Samantha Ronson? [Love Mag]

The Future Of Fashion, Part One: Robert Duffy


As we enter a new decade, the fashion business, like the rest of the world, is encountering significant economic and technological changes. In this new series,’s editor in chief, Dirk Standen, talks to a number of leading industry figures about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

When I spoke to Robert Duffy, the president of Marc Jacobs, by phone last week, it was 12 days till showtime. “I don’t have one finished sample, one piece of clothing that’s finished, not one,” he said from the label’s Spring Street offices. “I don’t have one shoe or one handbag that’s going to be in the show that’s finished.” He did not, however, sound particularly concerned by this state of affairs. In fact, he sounded cheerful and energized. That unflappability has presumably served Duffy well over the last two and a half decades, as he and Jacobs have gone from being the self-described “rebels” of American fashion to becoming the leaders of a global mega-brand. During our conversation, somewhat condensed here, he talked about his experiences with tweeting and live streaming, the reason a $15 flip-flop could be the future of retail, and why having celebrities at your fashion show is boring.

You’ve just started tweeting. What’s surprised you so far?
What surprised me is how famous Marc is.

I’m just working with the same person for, it’ll be 26 years in May, so I have absolutely no idea. I mean, sometimes when we walk down the street and stuff, I hear people screaming at him. But I was floored…The best thing about [tweeting] has been listening to what people have to say, and these are real consumers. People were commenting about what they bought and how they long they’d kept it and when and where they’d bought it. That’s really been an eye-opener for me.

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The Quiet—No, Really—Marc Jacobs After-Party


“Friends and family only,” Marc Jacobs explained about his (mostly) employees-only after-party. (Well, employees, friends, and Patrick McMullan photogs. Some things are sacrosanct.) “I really wanted to focus on that, and on the collection, which I’m very proud of.” Just a few seasons ago, the Marc Jacobs front row was the celebrity magnet, and the eyes tended to linger longer on Uma and Lindsay and Helena than on the clothes. But the shows have gotten small—and more punctual—and this season, Jacobs banned celebrities from attending full-stop. It only makes sense that the party (in days past, the bacchanal of the week) was a quiet affair at Boom Boom: no press lines, no scandal.

The collection was a rousing success, and after working so diligently on it—I’ve heard that even Jacobs himself has been known to pull all-nighters and sleep on the floor of his Soho office when it comes to putting together the show—he and his staff looked keen to party. Marc plopped into a seat in front of one of the LCD screens; show closer Jamie Bochert held court with her fiancé, Michael Pitt; Rachel Zoe sat with Robert Duffy; and Angela Lindvall passed mini burgers with André Balazs. All in all, it was one of the chicest office parties I’ve ever seen. It was good that everyone was letting their hair down on this one night, as it would soon be back to business.”Tomorrow I start on the next one,” Jacobs smiled.

Photo: Billy Farrell /