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Marc Jacobs: Is there nothing you can’t do?

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Fashion’s most daring multi-tasker talks about his latest career move

Words: Olivia Phillips, Photography: Juliane Werner for Stern/Picture Press/Eyevine

He might be about to turn 50, but Marc Jacobs, world-famous designer and creative director at Louis Vuitton, is more fearless than ever. As Diet Coke’s new creative head, he has appeared topless in their latest campaign and is now branching out into acting in a star-studded thriller. We sat down with Marc to talk comfort zones and what inspires him…

Your film debut as Harvey the pimp in Disconnect (out in the UK later this year) is quite a departure from the world of fashion. Is it creatively important to step out of your comfort zone?

It felt like going into a world where I didn’t speak the language – it was really uncomfortable. I think it’s a good exercise but it was never a dream of mine. I’m not a frustrated actor who became a designer because I couldn’t act – maybe that’s why it was so much fun. But it was the first and last time I’ll do it!

Will your on-screen wardrobe be influencing your future collections?

Everyone in my office has seen me in bras, dressed up for cabaret – all kinds of crazy get-ups – and they’ve never laughed. But seeing me in acid-wash dad jeans for my role in Disconnect? They thought it was hysterical. But Harvey was my character and he’s done. He provided no inspiration whatsoever.

You’ve used the Eighties and Nineties to inspire your redesign of the Diet Coke bottles – is there a period in history that particularly inspires you?

The Seventies – when I was growing up and became drawn to fashion. There was no Diet Coke then, though, it was Tab. My mother used to drink it.

The Nineties is back in a big way. Your grunge collection from Perry Ellis in 1992 is still referenced today. How do you feel about that?

Now it’s just style without substance. At the time, when we did grunge, there was a real reason, there was change – it felt substantial, like punk. Now people have mohawks and have no idea what the social significance was. So grunge has joined the ranks of punk in a way.

Even though it was a seminal collection, it was so ground-breaking it got you fired. Is it important to have a moment like that?

I never looked at the down side. It taught me that you have to trust your instincts and do what’s in your heart. I didn’t set out to be a rebel but there’s a kind of integrity there that’s much more rewarding than any kind of negativity. You sleep better at night when you do what you feel rather than doing something you think someone else might like.

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