There is no need for me to give you a spiel on this matter since I'm sure you heard or read about it already, for the ones that follow fashion in a non-label-whorish way, if you know what I mean. However, I thought to pin down my 2 cents on the whole frenzy. I do receive WWD newsletters to my e-mail, but for some reason I never read them since I find informative, yet tiring. But I very frequently read news-related blogs, which is where I found out about the whole "Marc is naked" hysteria. While reading the blog, without expecting nothing out of the ordinary to pop up, I find this image (see below) of Marc laying in a Mylar bed in his birthday suit (butt naked, for those slow ones) with a giant deformed silver colored perfume bottle covering up his manhood. The image looked certainly like an ad so I digged up the scoop on it.
Julie Naughton from WWD did a piece on the men's fragrance "Bang" Marc and his team are introducing to the market, set to be in Bloomingdale's and Marc Jacobs stores nationwide on July 30. In the article Marc discusses on how he came up with the name at the gym, "I was in the gym, and the name Bang came to me. As a word, it has so many connotations, including a sexual connotation. And I loved the immediacy and the sound of the word. "Bang" was the catalyst for how this fragrance came to be. You're drawn to try it, to experience it." I think the name has some commercial catchiness to it. It's quick, memorable and fun to say it. It will most definitely would have a worldwide appeal. Moreover, the article talk about the "concept" behind the shoot, "Robert and I worked closely with Coly on these projects and he said, 'Marc you look so great now -- you should be the model for men's fragrance.' My immediate reaction was, I don't know. But then I came to see that it made sense. Men's fragrance, unlike women's in a certain way, is very personal. It's a layer on top of skin -- for women, it can be like changing a makeup color, but not for men." Robert Duffy, as I found out this year, is Marc's business partner, and I was surprised to learn that he's been Marc's right hand since the beginning, through the ups and downs (Marc is still human, a genius but human) so he's liable to make business mistakes, and through it all, they've sticked together, how cool.
Then Marc explains on the idea of him appearing stark naked on his ad, "Once I agreed to be the model, I couldn't see what I would wear to express this. We tried it with clothes, but it didn't work. Then Juergen (Teller, who shot the campaign) had the idea for the silver mylar, and it all came together. The silver mylar also gives it that flash, that bang." I think the decision for Marc to go naked was the right one. I don't envision how the concept could come out successfully depicting the right message with clothes on, only perhaps with one of his super sharp suits he wears on occasions, but then the suit may have conflicted with the concept of the ad. I love all the shiny reflective light from the pictures, it sort of grabs your attentions and maybe lures the folks to go get a perfume bottle. Undeniably, Marc is in shape and he's not ugly at all. Actually he's really good looking, dare I say, very sexy. So the idea of him starring in his own ad is not a surprise, his personality alone needs a reality show (Bravo, hint, hint) and I commend him for baring it all out there (well almost) and pose for Juergen Teller, who I came to be more familiar with through his Marc Jacobs ads, for the whole world to see.
Furthermore, having said that I'm having difficulty fathoming why the bloosphere is so appalled/shocked/mad at the whole Marc being naked on his ad scandal. In case some of you might forgotten, this is not the first time the world has seen Marc in the nude, or semi-nude. Let's take a short trip in memory lane. In 2006, him and Mr. Duffy appeared naked on the cover of the September issue of WWD. In 2007, a casual shot of Marc shirtless surface online, where he was presumably at tattoo shop getting inked up. In 2009, he was shot by Terry Richardson completely naked for the January edition of Harper's Bazaar to celebrate the second collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Stephen Sprouse. Of course, since Harper Bazaar is not Playgirl, the bags and accessories from that collection served to cover up Marc's manhood, once again. Also just a few years ago, Marc appeared on his white undies for the New Yorker and Interview Magazine. So why so surprised my friends?
There were also some comparisons made with the super controversial and sexually-fueled Tom Ford's ads. And if you seen those, which I'm sure you have, then you know what I mean. Sure Mr. Ford raises the bar to a whole new level, his campaigns have a very strong sexual connotations that I won't be surprised to find out that some publications have rejected them. His images are also very controversial, objectifying women in the nude, wearing nothing but lipsticks, and in one case, placing his perfume bottle between her breast or on her crotch (Do I really need to link up these pictures?). But then if you think about it, Tom as well as Marc (sounding a tad colloquial) have a firm stand on their business. Their fashions are at times misunderstood by the public, and the message gets lost in translation. Their work is not meant to be easy to understand, more in the case of Marc, but somehow he finds a way to get into the brain and hearts of his loyal followers, including his friends. I think throughout Marc's career he has managed to do so successfully and still remain one of the top visionaries in the world.
At the end of the day, Marc is just an addition to the list of designers who have taken this route. In 1971, Yves Saint Laurent posed in the nude for photographer Jeanloup Sieff for his Opium perfume ad, which turned the whole industry upside-down. The American, Parisian-based designer Rick Owens have been shot shirtless by Nick Knight for Arena Homme Plus not too long ago. There is also the case of Dolce and Gabbana, though they have not appear naked in their ads, they've been featured in a few magazines leaving not much for the imagination. Traditionally, their campaigns elicit a strong sexual connotation. There is usually the buffed guy with chiseled abs making out with some other dude, while the rest of the models are meticulously dressed. But I loved that. They're italian, so they love sex, I get that. But they also, come up with well-thoughout concepts that tell a story, or they even have their models play a character as if they were in a movie. And think that has been one of the key elements that have gained them much notoriety in the industry. So after all, Mr. Jacobs is not the first and won't be the last designer to show some flesh for us to see, and as long as they have the goods to show off I'm ok with that.
Expect the ad to pop up in the September issues of lifestyle and men's fashion publications, but if you happen to live on the Middle East, it's not's likely you'll get the naked Marc version, instead you'll see just see the bottle ad. Sorry.
If you haven't noticed yet, I finally have a new banner, thanks to the dopest graphic designer Nick Fulcher. I been trying to get him to do it for a while now, and I been waiting patiently since I know he's a very busy man, so just yesterday he finally he sent me a few samples, got my feedback, fixed it and got it done. Thanks again Nick, check his blog out here.