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Exclusive: Marc Jacobs on his Jessica Lange obsession

How the designer subverted the youth-obsessed beauty world by choosing the actress to front his new campaign

Marc Jacobs has a powerful ability to capture the spirit of our times with a measured dose of both intelligence and perversion. Last night in Paris, he revealed that 64-year old actress Jessica Lange – who’s having a comeback with her bewitching roles in the series American Horror Story – as the face of his first beauty campaign shot by David Sims. With a haunting voice that Jacobs describes as “almost narcotic”, Lange is captured reciting the lyrics to Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” – a chilling take on the dark fantasy world of The Wizard of Oz. It’s only fitting that fashion’s greatest provocateur would cast Lange – who played a damsel in distress in John Guillermin's infamous 1976 remake of King Kong – in a defiant and unprecedented subversion of the youth-obsessed world of beauty. Here, Marc Jacobs talks Dazed through his Jessica Lange obsession.  

Dazed Digital: Why Jessica Lange?

Marc Jacobs: I love Jessica, I mean I think we all love Jessica. This was really about her and I feel like the film was a sort of gestural moment, where people would look and see what they wanted to see and hear what they wanted to hear. I asked her to recite 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow', which has a lot of meaning for me and is something I’ve really gone back to. I mean, her voice I find almost narcotic, and there’s something so… It’s a bit like with me – there’s this hope and this wish and desire, but there’s always this sort of edge of melancholy or darkness. She’s just a strong woman who, again, I find so beautifully inspiring. What we really wanted from her was for her to be herself.

"Her voice I find almost narcotic. It’s a bit like with me – there’s this hope and this wish and desire, but there’s always this sort of edge of melancholy or darkness"

DD: Why does 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' have such a personal resonance for you?

Marc Jacobs: For many reasons. I mean I feel like I’ve really gone through fashion. In a sense, Oz is what fashion is to me. You know, there’s this sort of black-and-white life, and then there is this other world when you walk into fashion that turns to colour. But within all this glamour and superficiality we sometimes lose our insides. I don’t want to get too heavy, but it’s our spiritual side. Although the idea of surface can be so delightful about fashion, it’s important to return to something very meaningful. You need to embrace all of that surface and then come back to the comfort of home, you know?