Harper’s Bazaar: Your new fragrance is called 'Decadence'. What does the word ‘decadence’ mean to you?
Marc Jacobs: I don’t know what I was going through design-wise or what I was thinking about in terms of life, but I felt like decadence means indulgence, pleasure, and luxury. It’s a behaviour that allows for a party, for getting dressed up, for sequins, fur, make-up, glamour, and irreverence – something a bit subversive. It’s also an attitude that most people I know have in some way or another. I wouldn’t say that my own behaviour is decadent all of the time, but there are certainly activities. I indulge in that I see as decadent. It could be when I get home and sit in my living room surrounded by beautiful antiques and curl up with my dog, my aloe water, and a cigarette and watch Scandal. Or it could be sitting on the floor in your tuxedo with your bow tie open with your friends, their dresses half unzipped and their heels slipping off, and you’re all eating a bowl of cherries and having that last glass of champagne. There are lots of different versions of decadence.
HB: What is your favourite smell? What is your least favourite?
MJ: My favourite is probably the smell of puppies. A friend of mine just got a dog, and I said, “Enjoy her while she’s a puppy because that smell goes away, and you’ll never get it back.” As for my least favourite, I don’t like the smell of gasoline or those markers that are so harsh it feels like you could get high off them.
HB: You have a really large art collection. Who are some of the artists you’re most excited about lately?
MJ: I recently saw a new group of paintings that I loved by Lisa Yuskavage at David Zwirner [gallery in New York]. There’s this kind of weird hippie quality running through them. John Currin’s last group of paintings at Gagosian in Los Angeles was also amazing. And Rachel Feinstein [Currin’s wife] showed me some work that she had just done that was really inspiring.
HB: You’re a big fan of director and choreographer Bob Fosse, who did Cabaret. What about him do you identify with?
MJ: I’ve read every book there is about Bob Fosse, and I’ve seen every Bob Fosse musical. Cabaret is one of my favourite stories, but then all the choreography in Sweet Charity is amazing, and anything he did with his third wife, Gwen Verdon – Damn Yankees, Chicago – is brilliant too. I think I identify with his admiration for Fred Astaire as a dancer and how he always felt like he could never be that person. I understand that feeling of looking over your shoulder and comparing yourself to someone else, and also having that competitive nature of, “If I can’t do that, then I’ll do this.” I relate to his life on so many levels.
Marc Jacobs by Peter Lindberg
HB: You went through a phase of wearing a lot of kilts. What is your everyday uniform now?
MJ: I still wear my kilts every once in a while. Right now, though, I’m going through a heavy period of Adidas track pants. Most days I’m in track pants, a thermal T-shirt and, if it’s cold, a fur coat. Walking the dog in the morning in a fur coat, before you’ve even washed your hair or taken a shower –there’s something about that sort of throwaway attitude that’s appealing to me. It’s funny because I usually have gel in my hair when I go to bed, so when I get up in the morning it looks like I’m wearing a fright wig. I can’t be bothered to shower before I go out and walk my dog, Neville, so I just leave the house like that. This morning there was a guy around the block who stopped me and said, “Oh, is that Marc Jacobs’ dog?” And I said, “Yes.” So he goes, “Are you Marc Jacobs?” And I was like, “Yeah. I don’t really look the part right now.” Neville is a sensation. He has more than 150,000 Instagram followers – he’s right up there with Choupette.
— As told to Christine Whitney. Decadence launches in the UAE this week. The full article appears in the November issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia