Marc Jacobs As You've Never Seen Him Before
Your father died when you were 7; you were raised largely with your grandmother. How much of who you are goes back to your unorthodox childhood?
I look at the positive side of all the negative things that happened to me. That, again, is a choice of perspective, and I've only learned in the past decade how important that sense of perspective can be. My sister and brother and I all grew up under the same circumstances, and I don't think it strengthened them in the way it strengthened me, but then, others would also look at my strengths as weaknesses.
Do you have any nostalgia for your childhood?
No, I don't have nostalgia for anything, really.
Which is odd, because so much of fashion is informed by sentiment and nostalgia.
I guess on a certain level I love old clothes, I love knowing about the '20s, the '60s, the '70s, the '80s, and certainly I have a lot of great memories, but they're just nice thoughts that get added to the human hard drive and then you can access it as you want. Whatever impulses or feelings come up for me is how I'm going to respond or react, but it's not a longing or nostalgic desire to live or re-create or fix past events.
I guess that's one definition of being, as we say, fashion-forward. What trends most excite you right now?
Kind of all of them. It's so amazing to me how into fashion the majority of people I come across are. It doesn't really matter what the trend is or what the look is'you've got to have one, so I find it's like a cartoon world out there where everyone's sort of playing dress-up, and that's why I say there are no bad trends. I don't care if you're doing the sleazy suburban look or a nerd look or a jock look. It reminds me of the voguing balls from years ago where people used to dress to pass as a certain type of person in society. Young people have always dressed as their idols, but I think we've greater accessibility to how those people look today.
How about sex? Is that part of fashion for you?
I don't think clothes are sexual; I think people are sexual. You can always tell somebody's sexy'whether they're wearing a big old baggy tracksuit or a skintight, low-cut dress. But everything affects me and what I do, whether I'm in a relationship or wanting to be in a relationship or obsessing over someone. Lately the shows we've been doing in New York have been these tableaus of my inner world'whatever's going on, whatever perversity. It's not manifesting itself in a low-cut, slinky floor-length gown with beads in it, but that's not to say it isn't informed by a lot of sexual tension.
When did you realize you were gay?
I was in sleepaway camp, and there was a counselor, and we all had to take showers together and that kind of thing. It was weird. I was always teased by other kids for being gay before I'd ever had any kind of sexual contact with another man, and I was always afraid of what it meant [to be gay], but I was also very excited by it because I couldn't deny to myself that I found naked men really attractive, especially my camp counselor. I just thought he was the most exciting, sexual thing I'd ever seen in my life. And I was turned on by the images of naked men, as opposed to the images of naked women.
Where were you seeing those images?
Well, my mother would read Viva magazine and Playgirl'it was those kinds of things.
What kind of guy is attractive to you?
Well, in the past what was attractive to me was unavailable people, but I've moved on. I'm trying to correct that kind of thinking and behavior now.
There's been a lot of speculation about your relationship with Jason Preston [invariably prefaced in reports as a former rent boy]. Did that upset you?
No. I had a relationship with him, and it was crazy, and sometimes it was a lot of fun, and sometimes it was not a lot of fun, and the biggest frustration was that I wanted him to be something he wasn't, and I don't mean on a social level, and I don't mean about his past or anything like that'I just mean that I wanted to come home and have somebody be available and have conversations and just to be there. And Jason is a young guy who wanted to go out and party and do his thing, and it just wasn't there. I don't think there was any chemistry'it's just that we both do enjoy each other's company on occasion. We're better off as friends.
Do you think the kinds of guys that attract you are the kinds of guys that make it harder for you to stay sober?
No, I don't think so'again, when I first met Jason I was completely sober, and I had no problems staying or being sober for the first few months I met him. Of course, I think it's so much more complicated than that. In order to be with him, because he wasn't happy staying in, I ended up going out more to be with him. First of all, I've done that all already, and secondly, I just ended up in situations where, in order to be entertained or in order to stay out, I would drink or partake in drugs or whatever, but I can't really blame him. I was changing my value system and what I believed in order to be with somebody, and none of that can make a relationship that's not working really work.
But the people we're attracted to aren't always the best people for us, are they?
Well, it depends where you are. Right now I can't even imagine being attracted to someone who isn't in a healthy place on all levels. So I have to not be in the healthiest place in order to be attracted to someone like that. Again, I own my feelings and accept that stuff. It's like, if I'm not in the greatest place, then chances are I'll seek things that are like that.
Are you in a relationship now?
Do you want to be?
That's a good question. I would like to be in the right relationship, of course. I am a romantic to a certain extent'I'd love to share my life with someone who wants to share their life with me. But I don't want to sit in a rocking chair and commiserate or have breakfast when two people read newspapers and don't talk to each other'that's not the relationship I'm looking for. I like living.