You Are Reading

Marc Jacobs Launches Heaven, a New Collection of Teen Dream Fashion


Marc Jacobs Launches Heaven, a New Collection of Teen Dream Fashion

Once upon a time, there was a small slice of fashion heaven on the corner of Bleecker and West 11th streets. You could buy T-shirts with naked Naomi Campbell and Victoria Beckham and Miley Cyrus on them. Condoms cost $1.50 and were in a bottomless silver bin next to lipstick pens and key fobs and bandanas and beach towels and knockoff Pan Am flight bags and flip-flops and big vinyl totes in iridescent quilted colors. It was garish and tacky and over the top and always crowded. At Christmas, a Santa would perch in the window and give away free instant photo portraits taken on his lap. (In springtime, he transformed into an Easter Bunny.) Once, in 2006, I slid my Mint Chocolate Verizon slider phone across the register to get the phone number of the sales associate at the store, a man I recognized, shirtless, from We never did go on that date. 

If you were a New York or New York–adjacent teen in the aughts, you will already know heaven as that Marc Jacobs store. It was the apex of fashion at that moment, slotted beside the flagship Marc Jacobs locations, with their Stam bags and Juergen Teller photographs in the windows, but affordable and flippant enough to capture the hearts and minds of a new generation of fashion addicts. I shopped there, and all my friends did too, showing off our plastic crystal rings and shooting star barrettes in free periods. The idea of fashion as a glamorous escape was at its peak in those years, with TV shows like The Hills and America’s Next Top Model, fantasizing about how any girl could be plucked from her ho-hum life and turn into the girl who went to Paris.

That MJ store closed in the 2010s and fashion’s pendulum swung away from tacky glitzy glam to the nun-chic austerity of Phoebe Philo’s Céline. But the pendulum swings back. Teenage dreams of fashion are what fuels Marc Jacobs’s new collection, so aptly titled Heaven. Launched yesterday and priced between $45 and $395, Heaven is a compendium of all the things millennials remember from Bleecker and 11th and the fashion culture that radiated from that hot spot. Technically speaking, it’s a polysexual line of clothing with pubescent dread phrases like “totally fucked up” and “more teen angst” printed on baby tees and hoodies, pleated skirts in acid daisies, and baby rib cardigans. There are also vintage magazines and CDs for sale under its banner and a selection of stuffed animals inspired by a dual-headed bear that appears in a 1994 photograph of a nude Katie Grand, Jacobs’s longtime muse and collaborator. The collaborations that dot its launch are the brainchild of Ava Nirui, @avanope, a gifted curator of fashion’s past and predictor of its present. Spiritually, Heaven is the manifestation of a restless nostalgia for Gregg Araki and Fruits magazine—both Heaven collaborators—and (though un-cited in the press release) Stinky Rat by Marc Jacobs, plus all the sort of dingy but essential “everything stores” that populated New York when those things were all the rage.

Heaven is a direct-to-consumer collection, one that pulls at the heartstrings of those of us who wish for nothing more than to crawl back into our childhood bedrooms, slide open our Verizon Chocolate phones, and trade our teen angst for a date with the hot Marc Jacobs store employee. Consider its Instagram page, which mimics the bedroom walls of any fashion kid from the aughts, with its MxMJ campaigns of M.I.A. and Dakota Fanning. It’s grungy fashion for now, unstudied style with a tinge of cuteness that bucks Insta-filtered life, and a lot of cool stuff to buy to make you feel hopeful about the future.