If ever there was a problem that plagued fashion designers, it's this: how do you balance commerce and creativity? Marc Jacobs is the personification of the latter, yet has rarely cared for the former. “I’ve never been a business person, nor have I ever pretended to understand the first thing about it,” he once told the Financial Times. So how has he survived three decades outside the burning pit of bankruptcy and irrelevance while so many others have succumbed?

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