Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Documentary Film Review: Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton

     I first saw this documentary on the Sundance channel back in 2009 while browsing for something to watch On Demand. But I've always been in love with his work ever since I can remember. Marc Jacobs is the most influential American fashion designer of his generation. He is 'Mr. Cool' and the inventor of grunge. He is the Ralph Lauren of the 21st century American fashion. Prior to this documentary, Marc Jacobs' creative process has never been filmed. It took a long while for the French company making this documentary to be allowed in the inner sanctum of the world of Marc Jacobs. In this inspiring and humorous documentary, the viewers get to see the making of the Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton Spring 2007 collections. From the creative meetings to the tailoring workshops, you get to see two collections come together from the ground up. 

     Marc Jacobs works for two fashion labels -- his own which is based in New York and Louis Vuitton in Paris. After Bernard Arnault bought Louis Vuitton in 1989, his most bold and wisest decision was when he appointed Marc Jacobs as the artistic director of the 18th century classic monogram brand. In terms of business, Louis Vuitton has doubled in size every 5 years since the arrival of Marc Jacobs. He is in charge of creating everything for the fashion house, from the clothes, the shoes, and of course the bags! Although in 1998, Marc Jacobs sent a Louis Vuitton collection down the runway without any LV bags [gasps*] So naturally, he has been making up for it ever since by transforming the iconic bag every season. 

The Dream Team. 

Bernard Arnault -- the Money
Yves Carcelle -- the Marketing Genius
Robert Duffy -- the Partner in Crime
Joseph -- the Assistant 

"In America, that's all we do is work.. as Muhammad Ali said."
- Marc Jacobs

     Aside from the creative artist which is Marc Jacobs, the well oiled machine of Marc Jacobs Inc and Louis Vuitton consists of several key players. Bernard Arnault is a French business man and billionaire who owns the luxury brand of Louis Vuitton along with famous brands like Dior and Fendi. He is the man to please and the one man who Marc Jacobs ultimately answers to when working for Louis Vuitton. Yves Carcelle is the CEO of LV Malletier. He is the person responsible for worldwide branding and marketing of the company. Robert Duffy is Marc Jacobs' right hand man and partner. He's been there ever since the beginning of Jacobs Duffy Designs Inc and is still by his side up to this very day. But the most useful relationship is probably the one that Marc Jacobs has with his assistant Joseph. Throughout the entire documentary, Marc is seen calling out and looking for Joseph and rejoicing after he has found him. 

Cut & Paste. 

"Yeah, trash it. As screwy as it can be, the better. Do you know what I mean? I like it more fucked up. Defects are good."
- Marc Jacobs

     The documentary takes place in between the cities of New York, Paris, London, and Tokyo -- basically where ever Marc is currently working on the new collection for the two lines that he designs for. And of course the design and creative process of the collection is my absolute favorite part. I loved seeing the clothes, shoes, accessories, and bags come from sketch to the actual product. It's a Marc Jacobs signature to make things that are more destroyed and making them look more hand made by fraying, dipping the clothes and accessories in bleach, or even steaming and ironing the flowers that will serve as hair accessories -- but perfectly controlled hole by hole, fringe by fringe. His process of making a garment consists of a rough cut and paste strategy of fabric on the model, [no dress forms were used] a photograph being taken after, and then synthesizing his vision to a drawing so that a workshop staff can understand. The birth of the new shoes is even more amazing in these creative design meetings which consists of deciding, editing, and lots and lots of silence. 

Cubist. Graffiti. Monogram Multicolore. Macarons. 

     The twist of rich and poor, ugly and beautiful is the inevitable outcome from the King of the grunge movement. And of course this also affects his designs when it comes to the Louis Vuitton bags. The film documents the birth of the Louis Vuitton patchwork bag or cubist bag, which is basically a compilation of many LV bags in one. Due to its intricate design, the bag had to be completed by hand, because it had broken so many sewing machine needles. But all of that hard and custom work comes with a hefty price tag, for the bag is retailed for 35,000 Euros and can only be made upon request! Fashion History 101: Marc Jacobs is responsible for the graffiti design of the Louis Vuitton bag. In addition, the film also featured Marc Jacobs' collaboration with the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, which brought us the 36 colors of the monogram multicolore while macarons inspired the multi-colored polka dots bag. 

New York -- Spring 2007 RTW Marc Jacobs Collection (September 11, 2006)

"A Marc Jacobs New York Fashion show is the key event of the American fashion scene -- It's the place to be."
     The atmosphere between his workshop in New York for his own line and the one in Paris for Louis Vuitton are completely different. The only common thread between the two is the amount of attention to detail to the colors, layers, and motifs of the garments and accessories. In New York, the atmosphere was very laid back and homey. The working conditions are definitely special, because Marc thinks of those people as his family.The entire staff in the workshop is laughing along with Marc while having random dance sessions to some rap music.  I think it helps boost morale for those long hours leading up to putting the collection down the runway. 

Paris -- Spring 2007 RTW Louis Vuitton Collection (October 6, 2006)

     The Louis Vuitton workshop in Paris is still a close knit family, but the dynamic is somewhat different for obvious reasons. But the drive and creativity is just about the same -- just translated in a different language. As the entire team edits, cuts, and sews through the last 12 hours before the runway show, it becomes a race against the clock. Nervous tension turns into hilarity and the garments and accessories are rushed from the workshop straight to the fashion show after they're finished. And of course in the end, those 39 seconds that the entire look is going down the runway is perfection. 

     This a great film about art, passion, bursts of color, and creativity. It's a definite must see if you want an intimate inside look of what goes on in the world of a prominent American designer like Marc Jacobs. I highly recommend it. 

Love, KB


  1. Experimenting with Marc Jacobs Handbags color and print is a great way to express your individuality. Even experimenting with handbag shape can help you make a statement.

  2. You always provide quality based posts, enjoy reading your work. replica watches india

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that I read your blog posts on a regular basis. Your writing style is impressive, keep it up! replica watches india