Superheroes tend to be orphans of sorts, and Marc Jacobs is no exception. His father, a theatrical agent in New York, died when Jacobs was seven. His mother, whom he has described in the past as 'troubled', is still alive, but he doesn't see her. 'I haven't spoken to her or my sister and brother in years and years,' he tells me. 'I never feel like it's a bad thing.'
Jacobs was brought up by his paternal grandmother, in the Upper West Side. 'She had a very bad relationship with her sister, whom I never knew, but I guess there was some argument and they never spoke again,' he says. 'Whenever I would mention something about my family, my grandmother would bring up the story of her sister and she would say, "We haven't spoken in years, so you'll get no argument from me.'
When Jacobs was in his teens he would go to the hyper-fashionable club Studio 54 all night, sometimes taking his books along so he could go straight to school in the morning. 'I had a ball,' he says. 'I mean, I really did.' He went to France for the first time at 17, and 'cried like a baby' on the plane home, because he felt so sure that he was meant to be a Parisian. 'Living with my grandmother, I just kind of grew up feeling like I was not going to be obliged to spend Thanksgiving with a bunch of people I didn't like – or who didn't like me! I shouldn't "shouldn't" do anything, or shouldn't "shouldn't" feel anything. I either do feel or I don't feel. I'm not going to "should" feel. Whether we're talking about contemporary art or we're talking about family, pretending that I feel something I don't feel doesn't really achieve anything. People say, "What if something happened to one of them?" Well, if that happens and I regret that, that'll be the way it is. But right now it's not something I'm regretting, so I can't act on that.' When Jacobs says that people should be shameless, he is talking about something more than exhibitionism. uk telegraph