Diet Coke’s 30th anniversary adds some fashionable fizz with designer Marc Jacobs. The toy soldier-sized New Yorker talks sex, Kate Moss and not being able to compete with Tom Ford.
Next month you’ll turn 50, what do you have planned for your midlife crisis?
My midlife crisis has been going on for twenty years. I don’t see it as a crisis at all. I think it’s quite an adventure – not a crisis for me. I’m not going to buy a Corvette or anything like that – I guess that’s someone else’s midlife crisis.
You’ve said before that you don’t have any big party plans but you seem to enjoy wearing some pretty outrageous outfits like that pink polo shirt dress. Do you enjoy getting dressed up?
I do enjoy it. I love attention. I’m very honest about it. There were years where I just didn’t want to do press and I didn’t really care about my appearance and I sort of shied away from things like that. But in order to enjoy them, I have to be me and sometimes that means wearing a pink dress, a lace dress or a kilt. Also, I feel like I need to relate to that joy and that ritual of going shopping and finding something to wear and then wearing it. I think being connected to that makes me a better designer: it’s sort of like practising what you preach. I wouldn’t really be doing my job if I didn’t do that.
What’s your relationship like with Kate Moss?
Kate Moss? She just texted me. We’ve been on holiday together. We were in Ibiza a few years ago with her daughter [Lila Grace], [photographers] Mert [Alas] & Marcus [Piggott] and some friends of mine. I’ve spent a great deal of time with Kate over the years; we genuinely like each other – we just click.
She regularly closes your show, do you ask her or vice-versa?
It works both ways. She’s expressed interest and of course, I’ve expressed interest in wanting her in a show. Over the past few years, it’s kind of like the Vuitton show is the only show she’ll do. It’s kind of just become this thing.
Your last few Louis Vuitton shows have contained sexual undertones. How does sex influence your work?
Sex is a big part of my life. It’s a very big part of most people’s lives whether they want to admit it or not. I don’t know, sometimes when collections feel more personal there’s more of an undercurrent of things that are of an emotional nature. When I dream, there’s this darkness, this melancholy side, there’s this sexual tension and then there’s this kind of identity thing that goes on: an element of role-play and honesty. In the collections that I feel most proud, there are personal feelings and emotions that make it human.
Speaking of sex, you’re in great shape and so is Tom Ford. Who’s the bigger stud and why?
I don’t know. I don’t compete with Tom Ford. Tom’s a friend of mine and I think Tom’s terrific. He’s a great looking guy and all of that but I certainly don’t set out to compete with Tom [laughs]. I wouldn’t compare anything of mine to anything of his.
How does the inspiration and working process for you differ between your Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton collections?
The New York collection is very personal to my life growing up in New York. My collection in Paris is very much about my life in Paris, which is a bit of more of a fantasy life: that of being a French designer and working with the great ateliers of Paris – it feels a little bit like I’m looking in on a different world.
Are there too many designer collaborations?
No, no. It’s always a two-way street. If nobody had any interest in designers doing cans and bottles for Coca-Cola, then Diet Coke wouldn’t ask designers to do it. It’s about supply and demand.
Do you think that fashion houses are creating too many collections these days?
It is too much but I don’t actively participate in all of it to the same degree. I know when I’m most needed and that’s when I rise to the occasion and I don’t think any one person does do that much. They might say that they do but they don’t.
Cigarettes, coffee and Diet Coke, would you say that you’ve got an addictive personality?
Well, let’s not put cigarettes in the same category as Diet Coke. Hmm, cigarette smoking is my bad habit, I’d say. It’s my biggest vice and bad habit – I don’t recommend it.
How many do you smoke a day?
I don’t know, I don’t count – I try not to.
Diet Coke through the decades