‘Fashion begins with what the designer wears’

Last week saw me feature a slightly controversial figure of ‘Style Icon’, but I am sure that this weeks choice will not be as questionable. Creative director of the world famous Louis Vuitton, and head designer for his own labels – Marc Jacobs, as well as the diffusion line Marc by Marc Jacobs – Marc Jacobs not only designs amazing clothes, he wears them too. Graduating from Parsons The New School for Design, Jacobs really has an amazing history in the world of fashion design. The reason why I have chosen to feature Marc in this series, is that he is something different from the everyday looks we usually see, unlike the style icon I featured last week. Mr Crawford wears simple and fitted clothes that look good, but Mr Jacobs wears clothes that you wouldn’t expect to see unless you were wondering around the Scottish Highlands… and pulls it off with style.

People have and will mention that the style icons I am featuring are only stylish because they can afford to be. But the message that I am trying to put across is that no matter what your financial situation may be, you can still produce an individual look based upon and inspired by the style icons that I am featuring in this series. You can go onto the high street and find extremely good versions of designer products, and get the “feel” of the look or outfits for a much smaller dent in the wallet.

Marc Jacobs the Man

Marc has been revolutionary in the transition of designer couture to ready-to-wear clothing, being the designer to introduce the first ready-to-wear collection for Louis Vuitton in 1997.

He is not only a fashion designer but an entrepreneur also. Expanding his self-named brand into accessories and now children’s clothes, Marc Jacobs has turned his clothing label into a worldwide recognised brand, and to own a Marc Jacobs product comes with a sense of pride to most consumers. Expanding the brand into numerous boutiques around the world is a huge step away from those Parsons days, but Marc has been business clever. Expanding his line into different types of clothing made his brand more accessible and attractive to a wider audience, which was definitely a wise move.

Marc is also a huge campaigner for gay rights. In 2009 Marc produced a shirt which demanded the legalization of one of the things he believes strongly: gay marriage. He recently was the first ever designer to broadcast his fashion show via a live stream on the internet. Fashion is ever changing, but Marc Jacobs is always on the forefront of this change. He is a true innovator within the industry, and we can not only be inspired by his personal style, but his whole work ethic and creativity in everything he puts his mind to.

“I like the sort of ‘nothingness’ of the jeans and the T-shirt. I feel that’s about as close as I can get to the future because it seems like something so old that will always be, so I feel it’s a safe bet for the future.”

If you would like to know more detail about Marc Jacobs, I recommend this recent interview he did with interview magazine.

Marc Jacobs Style

Marc has a range of different styles of clothing that he wears. From long skirts to tank tops – and fitted suits in between – Marc has a wardrobe that you can take inspiration from. At the numerous events he attends, his attire can consist of a kilt and white button down shirt one night, to a fitted black suit with a dotted tie another night. His casual wear usually consists of tank tops and cargo pants/shorts. Footwear wise, the Marc Jacobs look needs to involve either soft strap leather sandals or chunky lace up boots.

Marc adds a range of accessories to his outfits, including gold chronograph watches and diamond studs in his ear. Marc has several tattoos, and loves to show them off whilst wearing a tank top or shorts. This is why I love Marc’s style. He can be smart and sophisticated when he needs to be, but his casual wear allows him to show off his edgy and quirky side, with the choice of long skirts or kilts mixed with his very individual tattoos. Now I am certainly not saying everyone should go out and buy man skirts or kilts and adopt the Scottish tradition, but Marc has this distinct edge to his outfits which makes him stand out from the crowd. Plus I salute him for being bold enough to wear such items and not be influenced by what others may say. That in itself makes him a style icon in my eyes.

Whether he is in casual attire or formalwear however you can always guarantee that he will have an amazing bag on his arm. He is known worldwide for his amazing creations so no wonder he has an eye for a great accessory to make an outfit. Whether it be a simple clutch purse or large manly holdall/shopper, this is something he never leaves the house without.

The Lookbook

Here is the Marc Jacobs lookbook:

Marc Jacobs Look Book

Key Pieces

The following are the key items that you should use to get the Marc Jacobs look:

  • Soft Strap Sandals/Lace Up Boots.
  • Leather tote/clutch bag.
  • Knee length skirt/kilt.
  • Tailored/fitted suit.
  • Tank top/Merino long sleeve jumper mixed with Cargo shorts/pants.
  • Accessories: Watch, diamond studs, bow-tie, dotted tie.
Get The Look
  • Dune Fargo S mule sandals
  • ASOS Leather Fisherman Sandal
  • H By Hudson Westland Military Boots
  • ASOS Lace-Up Work Boots
  • Aspect Boot
  • Zip Boot Canvas
  • Washed leather bag
  • Leather bag
  • Tusting Tote Bag
  • Black satin lapel dinner suit
  • Gibson Marriott Notch Label Plain Suit
  • Levi's Two Pack Tank Top
  • Purple Sheer Knit Vest
  • ASOS Rib Vest
  • ASOS Merino Crew Neck Jumper
  • ASOS Merino Crew Neck Jumper
  • Welden Grandad
  • ASOS Laundered Belted Cargo Shorts
  • Stone Cargo Crop Shorts
  • ASOS Cargo Tapered Trousers
  • Emporio Armani Black And Gold Plated Chronograph Bracelet Watch
  • Earring Pack
  • Black Prom Bow Tie
  • White 100% Cotton Shirt
  • Black Plain Regular Fit Shirt
  • Off White Chunky Cable Socks
Editor Addition: Man Skirts/Kilts

So the man skirt and kilt is kind of a touchy subject with a lot of males, and most have a very distinct view about whether they should be worn or not. We actually covered this subject back in February and you can read all the comments and debate here. Either way I think we can all take something away from Mark’s style – the confidence the man has to rock these items on a near daily basis right now is excellent. He truly has made this item his own and all his outfits featuring the skirt are so individual and against “the norm” that it is something to be truly admired. I want you all to have this rock solid confidence in your own personal style and wear what you think looks great and reflects YOUR personality.

Below I have managed to source some more fashion-led kilts by a company in London, as well as one from the high fashion designer Henrik Vibskov. These items are not unwearable, and if you had the confidence to try it I think you would get some great feedback from people. I heard a story recently about how Marc first started getting into wearing the man skirt… it was supposedly influenced by his personal assistant who saw him wear one to an event and told him he looked amazing. Since then he has bought and created a variety of them in different colours and patterns and turned it into his signature piece.

If you are a fan of the man skirt and want a true “skirt” then I recommend you actually shopping in the women’s section of your local high street and look to buy some of the larger girls sizes. Try and go for something plain with no detailing and very much a fitted cut. I am being totally serious about this and if you are struggling to get up the nerve to try one on, BUY ONLINE and try it on in the comfort of your own home. You will need total confidence to use such an item out and about, but like I said I haven’t heard anything but good reviews from people who have seen Marc Jacobs do it.

If you are not as adventurous in your own personal style or do not agree with the concept (I cannot blame you as everyone is different and I myself have not got the nerve to try), this look would work well with other forms of clothing such as tailored shorts or drop crotch shorts. The large military boots mixed with these items and a plain shirt is a great look, and I love the big chunky white socks he throws on underneath them every time.

He has and always will be an innovator within fashion as a whole and one of my favourite icons we have featured on site.

  • HENRIK VIBSKOV - Valdemar kilt
  • Black Corduroy Combat S-kilt
  • Lightweight Indigo Denim
  • Beige Corduroy
  • Grey Prince of Wales Check Button-up
  • Brown Flock Big Cat Safari

I hope you enjoyed this weeks style icon, and check back next week for our next instalment in the series! Remember this is going to form the list of contenders for the title of Fashionbeans Best Dressed Man 2010.