Dots have always occupied a special place in Marc Jacobs’ heart. For one, he consistently decorates his clothes with them, starting with his Parsons senior collection in 1984, up through his fall 2011 show, wherein polka dots took an S&M turn in latex. And this year, he commissioned Yayoi Kusama, the legendary Japanese artist whose own fixation with the shape is well documented (and beautifully chronicled in her must-see retrospective at the Whitney Museum), to collaborate on an eye-popping collection for Louis Vuitton, where he’s creative director.
It figures that dots would make their presence known in Jacobs' fragrance empire sooner or later. Joining her scented ‘sisters’—the fresh, free-spirited Daisy and the intoxicatingly rich Lola—this summer is Dot, Jacobs’ latest perfume, and by the looks of the bottle, his most aesthetically appropriate yet. The ruby-red glass flacon is covered in black polka dots, with ladybug-meets-butterfly flourishes affixed to the bottle’s top and sides.
As for the scent, Dot comes across as the sophisticated and superchic sibling to Lola and Daisy: it’s lush and fruity (notes of red berries, dragon fruit, and honeysuckle) and charmingly grown-up (hints of jasmine, vanilla, and musk). It’s what a particularly stylish librarian—or her off-duty, hair-down, Marc Jacobs-clad alter-ego—might smell like.
Though she lost her library card long ago, 22-year-old artist Langley Fox Hemingway also fits the bill of the Dot woman. The younger sister of model Dree (which makes her a daughter of actress Mariel, and great-granddaughter of Ernest) would rather spend days sitting at her desk, creating watercolor and graphite illustrations, than doing pretty much anything else. “I’m quite the hermit,” the Rooney Mara doppelgänger says. “I like to be in my place, with my work.” Whereas her older sister’s style is “girly and refined,” Langley, who grew up between their family’s ranch in Sun Valley, Idaho, and Los Angeles, has always possessed “a weird, quirky style,” she says, offering an example from childhood: “When I was seven, I wore a Minnie Mouse dress and combat boots every day.” You can’t get more Marc Jacobs than that.
In search of some real-life inspiration for ITG’s collaboration with Marc Jacobs Dot, we hightailed it to Silver Lake, California (a few-minutes-drive east of Hollywood) to visit Langley and her spotted cat, Jack—“or Jack the Ripper, when he’s bad.” Coincidentally (and conveniently), she’d recently become fascinated by round shapes in her artwork. “There’s something very organic about a circle,” she says. “There’s nothing to mistake it for, and everything that’s circular is kind of happy and kid-ish—bubbles, lollipops, balloons, fruit…” Contrast this vivid imagination with her darkly romantic looks, which recall a delicate, slightly gothic beauty à la Mara and Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice, and a picture of a multilayered girl—at times naïve, refined, and eccentric—begins to emerge.
With that in mind, and with a trunk of dotted standouts from the Marc Jacobs archives (plus a DIY Dot headband) in tow, we entered Langley’s World for a day of dress-up, drawing, and daydreaming. As Marc Jacobs has said, “I don’t think there is ever a wrong time for a polka dot…”
Speaking of which: ITG and Marc Jacobs are seeing spots everywhere—on the street, in our closets, on unsuspecting animals... More on that soon, but in the meantime, start tweeting and Instagraming any dots, spots, and circles you see with the hashtag #MarcTheDot. Why? Why not—share your dots with the world.
Langley Fox Hemingway photographed by Emily Weiss in Silver Lake, California on July 11th 2012. Wardrobe by Marc Jacobs.