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Marc Jacobs and Stephen Sprouse: A History

Photo: Getty Images

As you may recall, a few weeks ago we posted a quote from Marc Jacobs in which he says of his collaboration with Stephen Sprouse: "I don't pretend to originate or create anything. I'm just here putting things together or re-putting things together and I like it that way -- it's fun." And now we are getting some elaboration on what went down between two of the most visionary designers of the last 20 years.

In an interview with The Guardian, Jacobs (pictured, wearing a pair of Sprouse leggings) opened up to reporter Sarah Mower on the night of the Stephen Sprouse opening at the Soho Louis Vuitton store about the history behind the Jacobs/Sprouse collaborations. Speaking about the obsession that was born in the punk-paced-partyland also known as New York City in the 80s, Jacobs says of his first taste of Sprouse:

"It was like a rock concert. Deafening hardcore rock. There were 25 men, really amazing boys standing on the runway, and then Teri Toye came out in a blonde wig pushing through them, throwing off her coat and slamming it on the runway. It was incredible decadence -- dark, punky, edgy. And the audience was downtown club-kids sitting next to Vogue and New York Times fashion editors. It was the first time that had happened in New York."

And in 2001, Jacobs and Sprouse released their first Vuitton collection -- an against-the-grain showing that turned Jacobs' own obsession into a shared craze among fashion fiends and artists alike:

"We broke all the rules that season. I had been told we were not allowed to change the monogram. I had been trying to follow the rules and do what everybody told me until it got to the point where I realized that's not why I was brought in here. I'm here to do something to make this young and cool and contemporary and of the moment. I wanted to use Stephen's graffiti specifically because it meant something to me. Stephen as an artist, Stephen as a New York figure. It had the credibility of street, but also this sort of style of somebody who was a fashion designer."

LV's latest collection showed no less restraint and no less demand, as pieces -- and skateboards specifically -- rapidly sold out. Jacobs, though, says not to worry. "There's plen-ty of it coming," he assures. Mowers, in the end, wonders how much the late Sprouse would enjoy being consumed by Jacobs' re-appropriative tendencies -- thendencies that some argue cheapens arts -- but, for now we're happy on the edge of our seats wondering what Jacobs will do next.

-- SETH PLATTNER

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