Robert Duffy Explains the Business of Fashion in Concrete Terms

Jacobs and Duffy.

Marc Jacobs's business partner, Robert Duffy, sounds so exasperated in interviews sometimes. He knows practically everything about growing a successful fashion house but realizes the rest of the world doesn't quite understand the basics because designers tend not to explain things in the most concrete terms. He acts tired (indeed, he's said that aside from the sprawling Marc Jacobs empire, Marc himself is a handful who gets spinach on his audits), but underneath it all you can tell he loves it to death. Duffy explained the business end of Marc Jacobs International in non-flowery English to the JC Report.

Working under the LVMH umbrella is no cake walk.

Most of designers could not work well together with Bernard Arnault. Until we gain money, problems don't appear. We control our company. Last year we had an increase of 30% sales, which happened because of large diversification of the brand. When one of the lines starts losing the interest of the consumers the others can "give a shoulder."

He sheds light on what the hell Victoria Beckham's paper bag ads were about.

In my opinion, an advertisement should not "sell" the product, it should inform the target audience of the brand and explain the main particularities of the product against the other ones … It's a mix of Marc's imagination and the people who take part in these campaigns.

Advertising is not universal.

Retail needs in different countries vary. If our partners wish to have more advertisements for the accessories, we can do a special photo shoot. But if, for instance, it concerns some religious attitudes, we won't cover a semi-nude model.

You know the girl Kate on Stylista? The one with really big boobs who likes to wear push-up tops? Marc Jacobs isn't meant for her.

We don't create straightly sexy things. And if it is even sexy, it still appears in different way. Marc Jacobs' clothes have a complicated concept, but if a person feels it, then it's easy to understand this essence... If he wants to reach an effect of nakedness, he will never disrobe the body. It doesn't meet the essence of the brand's concept or his vision of fashion. Self-ironical people choose the clothes, motivated by other principles.

Duffy's diction is revelatory.

Marc is responsible for the women's collection, and I am subjected to the men's.

Marc's design process makes no sense to him.

It is always a surprise for me. He can change his way in minutes. Last season he was inspired by the cocoon, next season it will possibly be picture frames.

One must not launch new products, like bathing suits, just because everyone else is.

We are motivated by the principal that launching a project is sensible when we are already prepared for it, but not when it is a demand of the market. It won't matter if we are the first or we are the last. The first ones are frequently mistaken. It's good to be the best, but not the first.

Robert Duffy Dishes On Marc Jacobs In Moscow [JC Report]

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