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And it's official. The former Biography Book Shop at the corner of Bleecker and West 11th Street has re-opened as the newest offering from designer Marc Jacobs: Bookmarc. Though still technically a bookstore, the attitude and author index at the new shop are totally different and, surprisingly, we don't hate it.
This, the world's first Bookmarc, quietly opened yesterday evening after only a couple tweets from Robert Duffy, long-time friend and business partner of Marc Jacobs, who is also President of the company. As @OscarPRGirl once said, "Twitter is the new press release," and so we raced over to the store to just miss Marc, but in time to catch Duffy behind the register. While Robert rang up everything from large art monographs to small MJ-branded pencil cases for the first few enterprising customers, we managed to ask his thoughts on the new space.
Inside Bookmarc, the shelves are blonde wood and most are visibly worn like Biography's used to be. This is no coincidence, says Duffy, as when he first walked into the store during construction to see that the old shelves had been removed, he "came in and just screamed, and made them bring them back."
The big new addition is a real eye-catcher, however. A vintage reading table sits front and center, complete with stools on hinges to retract inward. Currently the table is stocked with the Marc Jacobs colored pencils, $1.65 postcards featuring original art and photography, and custom blank journals printed with classic book titles, cheekily re-worded. Our favorites? It's got to be "Moby's Dick (LOL)" and "The Gay Gatsby." Note the authors in the images above *wink*.
Prices for the Marc-branded school supplies are college student budget-friendly, with most (non-leather) items under $30. But then we took stock of the actual books in the store, and let us tell you that Marc and Robert aren't slouching on the selection. These are hard-core, and in some cases, even rare, coffee table-style tomes. From the giant?Kate Moss by Mario Testino?to the tiny?the 33 1/3 series?Bookmarc has the perfect selection for its perfect demographic. Don't forget the Oprah biography!
So what else do Duffy and Marc have planned for the place? "Book signings and we're having a girl here singing in October!" For a more detailed event list, shoppers can add their email addresses to a register on the counter.
Oh, and for anyone curious about the controversial Brian Bowen Smith photography book featuring portraits of MJ sales associates... Duffy assures us that, after "jumping through many hoops," it is going to be printed, to eventually land on bookstore shelves around the world. It seems the big issue was that Smith shot all of the girls nude and all of the boys clothed, and the company just wasn't having that. Brave as those girls may have been, Robert understands. He was photographed nude when he was in his 20s too, and now he "[doesn't] like to go back and look at that."
We can't guarantee that Robert will be manning the stacks when you stop into Bookmarc, but he did profess his love for simple shopkeeping: "I just like to be in the stores. Always with the stores."
Bookmarc is just the first of many big changes to come in the world of Marc Jacobs retail. Duffy may just get his wish to hang out in new stores, for at least a little while.
Sidenote: Apparently we here at Racked NY have many fans within the MJ empire, despite our occasional harshness. Hi to Reese and everyone! Thanks for reading!
· Marc Jacobs' Magic Day for Bookmarc and More [Racked NY]
· What's Coming at Bookmarc: Marc Jacobs Colored Pencils [Racked NY]
· Marc Jacobs Ousts Bleecker Street Bookstore to Open...a Bookstore [Racked NY]