Marc Jacobs is coming out with a new fragrance for men called Bang. In the ad campaign, shot by Juergen Teller of course, he is oiled up and naked, straddling a metallic oversized bottle of the perfume.
Following the thread of recent events in Marc's life, this was hardly shocking to anyone. Number one, because it's Marc and we're used to his new exhibitionist side (plus he already showed his bits in Bazaar a while ago); and number two, because Yves Saint Laurent also went nude for his premiere scent for men (aptly titled Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme) in the early 70's. And all of these things are fine of course, except then I started thinking a bit more and realizing how incongruous this whole thing is with the image of the Marc Jacobs brand we've been sold for years.
Before Marc was a beefcake with Spongebob Squarepants tattoos, he was a totally geeky guy with thick glasses who wore Converse sneakers all the time. He was the patron saint for the girls who were too cool to be overtly sexy. Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore always sat front row at his shows and were featured in ad campaigns, along with such geekdom luminaries like Meg White, Stephen Malkmus and Jarvis Cocker. And even last season he cast non-models for his fall show and sent girls down the runway wearing glasses. On a weird level, Marc Jacobs has always been a label for the smart girls that wouldn't even dress like Snookie for Halloween, and of course we love him for that. Taking all of this into consideration, how are we supposed to feel about this new development for the brand? It's not the picture I'm talking about, it's the name. Bang.
WWD quotes him as saying "As a word, it has so many connotations, including a sexual connotation", which, DUH, I mean, it's either a gun, a Yeah Yeah Yeahs song or sex and when you lay the words under a naked man straddling a metal object, well, I'm pretty sure it's mostly about the sex. The whole thing becomes some weird kind of glorified fashion-AXE bodyspray product, a scent for the rich, young douche-set? "Sex sells", yes, but why now?
And if I really want to overthink it, I realize that all women scents have typically tender, cute, girly names like Blush, Daisy and Lola. They are passive and safe and not as overt and inyourface as BANG. But this is an observation I would only make if I was overthinking it.
Is this the beginning of Marc's big time sensuality-life influencing his work in such an obvious way? On one level, I feel like nothing that Marc does can prove unsuccessful, so I doubt that his perfume will not do well (nor am I saying that I wish for it to fail), but surely the change in attitude is not only weird to me?