It is very rare to think, “This keychain will change my life.” I don’t mean to put down Swiss Army Knife key fobs or Purel miniatures affixed to backpacks or everyone’s beloved Tamagotchis, but, generally speaking, keyrings are not the portal to groundbreaking happenings. Neither are pens, or pocket mirrors, or bandanas, or tote bags, or even stickers. And yet for almost a decade in the aughts, Marc Jacobs stores triangulated around Bleecker, Perry, and Bank Streets were a transportive haven of fashionable tchotchkes—mostly under $75!—that promised to turn suburban swans into fashionable women the likes of Sofia Coppola or Lil’Kim. It was a mecca of Marc-branded merch and it was truly remarkable the chaos that could amass at the launch of a new, random item, like, say, a Stinky Rat keyring or a lipstick-shaped pen. As my mother would often tell me back then, gazing with her pointed stare across the register as she handed off her credit card for a pouch filled with pencils and pins, they were “just things.” But they were “just things” that made me feel closer to the person I one day wanted to be.
Today, Marc Jacobs is celebrating the importance of “things” with the launch of a new brand called The Marc Jacobs. The name is taken from his Instagram handle, where he has been previewing the collection for several days. Over email, Jacobs wrote: “We wanted to do something that is unlike the runway collections we are doing, in that it is more ‘item-y.’ The items are things that you could put together to create your look.” In the spirit of items, Jacobs and his team have christened each piece with a special name that starts with “the”: The Romantic Blouse, The Grunge Sweater, The Smock Dress, The Disco Skirt, The Panama Pant, and so on and on and on. Each piece, then, is the perfect version of itself—and there’s the research to back it up.
Much of the collection is built on re-issues or re-imaginings, with Jacobs not only remaking some of his favorite hits of the past 30 years but also taking a page from the Martin Margiela playbook and making new seam-for-seam pieces based on vintage originals. On the comeback call sheet is Jacobs’s smiley-face sweater from his first-ever runway show for Sketchbook in 1981, the ’40s dress from Fall 2005, a straight-leg jean from Marc by Marc Jacobs’s Fall 2001 collection, and the track suits of Fall 2017. “When my team and I first initially met to start this project, we started looking at pieces and things we have consistently always gone back to,” Jacobs says. “We started to put these items up on a board with the title ‘The’; The Thermal, The Cashmere Hoodie…” and thus a collection was born.
What’s more, Jacobs will also introduce collaborations with Sofia Coppola, Milton Glaser and New York Magazine, Stutterheim, Schott, Stephen Jones, the Peanuts, and D. Porthault, as well as a collection of—what else?!—tchotchkes called “Trade-Marc.” “The Marc Jacobs is really item-driven, it is about pieces, not necessarily a head-to-toe look. That include keychains, tees, totes, etc,” the designer explains. “I love anything that had the authenticity and integrity of what it is.”
In total, these beloved items will sit in stores alongside the brand’s fantastical runway pieces, creating a bridge between Jacobs’s many inspirations and references. “A lot of things inspire me: music, art, pop culture, but the thing that probably inspires me the most, the thing I know the most about is fashion and style. Different periods in fashion and the style of different times that I was either present for or I romanticize being alive during, are always the catalysts for us doing a collection, whether that be Runway or The Marc Jacobs,” he wrote.
So far, Elle Fanning has worn a floral dress from the collection at the Cannes Film Festival. More will follow in her stead, surely, in frocks and velveteen coats, leaving Marc Jacobs’s stores with the pockets stuffed with stickers and keyring and fabulous little things. I know I will.