Marc Jacobs Robert Jennifer Shoulder BagI’ve been sitting on this bag for a while now, which is odd for me. Usually, when I decide that I want and/or need to write about something, I do it immediately. The screen shot of the bag sits on my desktop for a day, at most. Generally, I feel like my first impression is the one I should go with and that it’s the one that most of you guys will identify with (if not always agree). But when it comes to the Marc Jacobs Robert Jennifer Shoulder Bag, I just can’t decide which way is up. I’m sure I HAD a first impression of it, but I don’t remember what it was, and even if I did, I’m not sure it’d be particularly relevant. This bag is making me wishy-washy in the extreme; it shows great attention to detail, but I’m not sure the overall effect is something that I can get on board with. I do, however, like the shape and size – perfect for that flap bag trend I keep mentioning – and I think it’s a great example of how a chain strap doesn’t have to be a Chanel ripoff. And I like the IDEA of the multicolored woven leather, but it just seems a little too busy and the colors a little too autumnal for a spring bag. With all the colors, the tassels, the woven chain…it’s a little too much all at once. I give it a passing grade overall, but just barely. Buy through eLuxury for $1995.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • dela

    There’s been some overlap between Marc Jacobs and LV bags in the past, but this season it’s hard to tell one from the other. Between tassels and ropes, safari theme, flaps they all look kind of same. I do wish Marc Jacobs had given them distinct personalities.

  • SKelly

    Oh my.

    Marc, it’s time to head back to the Serra retreat. This is like a bad trip or at the very least, a bad batch of barfed-up oysters.


  • QueenMAB

    WAY too much going on here. Take away the lock & the tassels and it would be a great bag. But this and LV’s spring tribal line look like they had entire craft departments thrown at it.

  • Sarah

    While a chain strap does not have to be a Chanel rip off, the only thing that Marc Jacobs seems able to do is make ugly Chanel rip offs that look like they should be in a Louis Vuitton knock off store.

  • Char

    I don’t know what it is, I try to be open minded, but after my latest shopping trip and seeing a pair of Marc Jacobs rubber ballet flats for three hundred dollars, I think he’s off his trolley. It’s very difficult for me to really see something of his that I like, including his Louis Vuitton creations. I think LV have him there because he appeals to the eccentric Asian fashion tastes (no offense to anyone, but I catch a daily dose of what tourists wear in the boutique districts near me), He doesn’t have the elegance of YSL, that’s for sure.

  • me

    Ugh, if Forever 21 can’t get away with doing a cheap rip-off Marc Jacobs certainly shouldn’t get away with doing an expensive rip-off. It’s clearly stealing the style of Chanel; but has managed to turn it ugly. No, thanks.

  • dela

    I don’t know what fascination Marc Jacobs has with Chanel. He reproduced Chanel’s pistol heels for his Fall 2009 collection and results are not pretty. I also recall him doing a Chanel jacket for his budget line. There has to be a line between inspiration and imitation.

  • Merve

    Oh dear there is so much wrong with this bag that i dont know where to start. Should i complain about the tassels, the gold lock, the awful pattern or the obvious chanel characteristics? I think if Marc is running out of good ideas then he really should stop spreading himself so thin. We could all easily take a chanel classic blueprint (ok change the chains a bit), add our grandmas carpet design as fabric and tassels from her cushions and stick an LV lock on it. But we dont…thats Marc’s job and he’s not doing well lately (pls might i remind you of the bags with hearts fiasco)

  • Char

    Merve, it’s not just the bags with hearts fiasco. He’s a proven plagiarist. He has no conscience and has no talent.

  • tadpolenyc

    the chanel rip-off statements are very tired. i had no idea chanel had trademarked quilting and chain handles. i suppose since coco created it and made the style iconic, no other fashion house can ever make variations on it. that’s a shame as this very cycle is exactly what fashion interesting and enjoyable; different perspectives, different viewpoints.

    i own the smaller version of the robert jennifer and it is truly a work of art. pictures do not do it any justice. it’s one of those bags you have to see in real life in order to appreciate it. the leather is primarily lambskin (the interwoven metallic overlay is comprised of goat and calf leather), so it’s buttery soft. it is lined in jewel toned satin. even the interior of the tassels features a complementary metallic color. it’s evident a lot of craftsmanship went into this bag and it’s clearly evident in the details. no aspect of the bag was overlooked. there’s workmanship that not even the house of chanel has ever done, so to flippantly dismiss as a knockoff is quite unfair.

  • Merve

    Char, i knew he was a bit of a copycat but that site you sent really proves his lack of talent. I mean thats just ridiculous. I hope the son in Sweden really chases this up..let me know if you hear more..

  • Merve

    To tadpolenyc, i think when the quilt and chain becomes a trademark of a label, which was founded at a time when Marc’s mother was a child, it does get annoying when you see a blatant copy. We are not saying that this style is copyrighted but just that it depicts the lack of talent of the designer for falling to come up with something inspiring and to add insult to injury he then has the audacity to charge us 2k for it. .

  • Dawn

    While I will admit that the bag is not my style, I think that Marc shows great attention to detail and the bag is beautiful. Sure, it may not be for everyone, and that’s okay.
    As far as the knock-off statements go…well…I think we’ve all seen most every designer be inspired by another.

  • spaceyjacy

    Well, apparently I have horrible taste because I really love this bag as well as most of MJ collection bags. I saw the Robert Jennifer IRL last weekend, and it is everything I hoped it would be. The construction is sturdy yet the leather maintains its supple hand making the bag almost like a pillow(and NOT boxy, pointy and rigid). The chain is light, and the resin detail takes the bling factor down several notches. Its really quite fun.
    It makes me really sad to see so much hate every time I check the responses to a MJ bag posted here. I’m not sure why it is necessary. Its certainly not helping anyone :(

  • tadpolenyc

    merve, my main point is while quilting and chains are iconic to chanel, they are not EXCLUSIVE to the company nor should it be. there exists similarities of this design to the chanel classic flap, yes, but blatant copy? you and i are not seeing the same bags here then! the chain? different. the tassels? not a component of the classic flap nor the reissue. the metallic overlay? not present in ANY chanel design that i can recall. even the shape is different: chanel is structured, clean lines. the mj robert jennifer is softer and less rigid. you preach originality, but is it anymore original for a fashion house to keep replicating their designs over and over again with very little alterations and innovations? mj’s version is different. it’s meant to appeal to a person who wants something different from the old standbys. it’s younger, fresher, hipper. and you want to know what’s personally insulting to me? for a company to increase prices year after year DESPITE a crippling global recession DESPITE a decrease in overall quality. i love the classic chanel flap as much as the next fashion obsessed person, but come on.

  • rorosity

    Blatant rip-off? I don’t think so. What other designer is creating bags with this type of detail? Maybe Fendi, to some degree, but not many others. What I love about MJ is that he pushes the limits and creates handbags that are not mainstream, run of the mill handbags. He actually sells what is on the runway and does not just produce them as props for his shows. He realizes there are customers out there, me included, that appreciate something outside the norm and knows that purchasing a handbag for us is never just about function. It’s about fashion, fun, bohemian-chic. Think outside the box and have some fun. This handbag is gorgeous. I have seen it and it truly is a work of art. I just purchased another style in this same print and I can’t wait to wear it. I know it may not be for everyone, but to say that MJ is lacking talent is ridiculous. Have an open mind. Not all of us want to carry the same bag as everyone else.

  • holly

    That bag just has too much going on.

  • pursemonkey

    I guess I’m not seeing how this bag “plagiarizes” (pretty strong word, BTW) Chanel. Woven multicolored leather? Tassels? The bag we’re supposed to be commenting on here has neither Chanel-like quilting or chain strap so perhaps we should keep the blanket statements to a minimum. Obviously MJ has been inspired by and payed homage to Chanel in some ways, but all designers gather inspiration from the world around them, whether it’s a color palette drawn from a vacation to the Caribbean or a dress inspired by a piece of vintage fabric found at a thrift store. What makes MJ special is his ability to put his own, fresh spin on that inspiration. He enjoys pushing the envelope and I find it refreshing that he continues to surprise us with his designs rather than simply finding a formula that works and re-creating it season after season. Obviously not everyone will choose to carry this bag but I would hope it would at least be possible to appreciate the creativity and craftsmanship that has gone into it rather than immediately jumping on the “MJ rips off Chanel” bandwagon. I wouldn’t personally carry a flap bag but I can certainly appreciate the classic appeal and would never go out of my way to find fault with the design simply because it doesn’t appeal to my own taste.

  • Merve

    tadpolenyc , i get your point but im entitled to my opinion. Im not trying to change yours. If you read Char’s post and attached article maybe it will shed some more light.. All designers keep their original trademark or logo and replicate. How many different kinds of spies/speedies/baguettes/cities have you seen over the years? Many is the answer. These are trademarks of established houses. I wouldnt call these being unoriginal..By your account that would make Hermes very unoriginal indeed and more annoying since they also raise their prices over the years.

  • tadpolenyc

    merve, i’m not trying to change your mind and i’m certainly not suggesting your opinion isn’t valid. if you don’t like a bag, then you don’t like it. it doesn’t upset me. what does upset me is the claim you’re making regarding plagiarism. the spies, speedies, baguettes, and cities you refer to are trademarks of the respective fashion houses who produce them, but they are not legal trademarks.

    as for originality, it’s a difference of opinion on what it means to you vs. what it means to me. personally, i don’t view the stam in eight different colors as original. it’s variety, but not original. just because it’s the norm for many designers to reproduce their own designs season after season with slight augmentations doesn’t make it any less lacking in originality.

  • blackonmaroon

    I completely agree with pursemonkey. I don’t understand why people assume that just because a bag has quilting, it’s automatically unoriginal, uninspired, and – to be blunt – a knockoff. Quilting has become such a popular characteristic in handbags, and I personally don’t agree that it’s automatically the sign of anything. In fact, I think Marc Jacobs takes the feature to a whole new level. It may be a less “classic” approach, but he definitely takes something and makes it his own. What new MJ bag would be complete without some fun and some flair? He breathes new life into the world of handbag design, and I think it’s refreshing. The price is a small price to pay for what you actually buy. You won’t see these bags everyday. As tadpolenyc said, the amount of detail and craftsmanship that these works of art have is astounding! For those of you who haven’t seen these new bags in real life, I highly recommend that you do because from what I’ve seen so far, photography just can’t capture the beauty of them!

  • jun3machina

    I’m sorry but i needed to come on here and stand up for one of the few designers who’s an innovator in the industry and has as much hate as he does love for the risks he takes each and every season…

    merve~ only recently were luxury design houses able to trademark and patent their designs because of the ongoing fake market that bubbled up from the luxury fashion trends of the late 90’s and early 00’s.

    Before Chanel, you know what you had? you had an array of small bags carried by flappers and Victorian women with…yes…I’m saying it…CHAINS! chains in the history of handbags have been around since the 1800’s even before that!. Chanel did not invent the wheel, or in this case, the chain; nor did she invent the square or the quilting. From a design aesthetic, she improved on already existing designs, and just happened to gain notoriety for it.

    Marc Jacobs went to fashion school. He’s well aware of the design aesthetics of Chanel, of Hermes, of probably every major fashion company. He’s a fan of course, because he loves fashion. And what do you do when you love something, generally you emmulate it. Artists emmulate those artists they are inspired by. A blatant copy requires a lot of understanding of design, structure and construction. Even though it’s tacky, you need to have the passon behind it. MJ takes that concept of ‘immitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ to a new level.

    He reinvented the concept of leather on these bags. NO companies have done these techniques on these bags with interwoven python and leather. NO ONE. It’s an amazing flex of his artistic and design muscles. I foresee many companies taking this woven concept to a new level after seeing what MJ can do with it. If anything at all, it’s closer to Bottega Venetta.

    I absolutely agree too that MJ is taking these risks with both MJ and not raising prices: he’s doing it because he wants to reinvent himself season after season and has a loyal following of perhaps non-conformist fashionista’s who DO NOT BUY FOR THE LABEL but instead for the innovation, the conversation piece, for the punk aesthetic of being different from the norm, while the norm’s cry out “he’s stealing our lil quilted box! damn him!”

    Fashion is meant to be controversial, it’s meant to show it’s inspiration, but also be different enough that you can not only see the designers inspirations but also he commentary of his design appeal in response to all these established companies. So few designers do that these days. It’s more important to replicate what sells instead of experiment. Chanel has such a strong following because it’s predictable. It’s like Andy Warhol images. Repetitive. And i love Andy Warhol.

    MJ is like a punk zine: taking found images from all sorts of random places he picked up in his travels, his life and experiences; then collaged into something and reprinted for the masses. It is a view of the world uniquely his own, paying homage to the vintage nameless designers before him, before the importance of a house logo. In that way he is very humble in his design aesthetics, he has a house name, but is also one of the most open designers as to what inspires him. He’s someone people can relate to, yes he has flaws and has gone to rehab, but all these experiences make his life rich and layered, and his designs reflect that.

    I’d rather had a richly layered textured bag that makes me think about why i like it, rather than a stagnant quilted box that’s telling me to love it because it’s friggin’ Chanel.

  • indi3r4

    some harsh comments over here..
    what happens to “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? i know everyone is entitled to their opinion but come on now.. how do you see chanel in this particular bag? cause it’s quilted and chained? so everything quilted & chained = chanel? to compare MJ current season with LV current season bags is understandable.. but to chanel?

  • tadpolenyc

    oh, and i forgot to address the handkerchief controversy. this happened february of last year and it has since been resolved.

    i would tend to think that this isolated incidence of plagiarism does not negate everything he’s achieved in his entire career and while you believe he’s lacking in talent, i would strongly disagree. i hope that clears up the scarf matter for you.

  • bigbagcrazy

    I find it disheartening that people are quick to accuse MJ of copying. Like others have mentioned, quilted, box-shaped bags do not belong to Chanel. I think that everyone is definitely entitled to their own opinion. It just seems that as soon as someone mentioned his plagiarizing Chanel, all of the naysayers jumped on that bandwagon. Who knows, maybe once you all see LC or Lindsey Lohan rocking it, you will immediately change your minds…

  • xi_captain

    Clearly, the old adage “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is dead these days. All I can say is it’s ridiculous to insist that quilting is Chanel’s “trademark.” Last time I checked, only the interlocking C’s are truly Chanel’s. I don’t see any interlocking C’s on the Robert Jennifer so how the heck is that bag a rip -off of Chanel?

    Regarding, the scarf “plagiarism” controversy, like Tadpolenyc confirmed, the issue has been resolved and it was an isolated incident. I find it in bad taste to keep bringing this up just to bash someone else who has been very successful (envy perhaps!).

    Everyone that had something nice to say about MJ pretty much said it all. He is an amazing designer and will continue to produce brilliant collections for MJ and LV.

  • I honestly can’t believe that the Chanel/MJ comparisons are still being made. This bag, to me, looks so FAR from any sort of Chanel aesthetic that I’ve ever seen that I don’t think the two are on the same planet. Just because a brand is known for using a certain kind of strap or material doesn’t mean all other designers are ripping it off by using anything similar. If we were going to hold everyone to that standard, then there would never be any innovation or advancement in the discourse of fashion. I think that MJ’s work with chains and quilting is incredibly postmodern and fresh in that he takes things that are obviously identified with another brand and makes them thoroughly his own – this is a completely different flap bag than a Chanel flap bag. They’re for two different customers with two different personal styles and they demonstrate just how diverse the handbag market can be, even though everyone designing bags is forced to work with certain limitations (size, structure, function, etc).

  • Sarahp

    I personally love this bag and want to own on. In pictures it looks like it might be too much, but in person, it is simply stunning. It’s complicated and detailed and fabulous but completely wearable at the same time. And when you’re not wearing it, you’ll want to put it somewhere you can see it, like a piece of art, b/c it’s so beautiful and so intricate you’ll just want to stare at it. I know not everyone has access to the boutiques or stores that carry, but I advise you don’t judge until you see it in real life…even if it’s not your style you’ll still be able to admire the workmanship and imagination that went into these bags.

  • Sofy

    looks like a cheap copy of Chanel and it’s coming from a person who loves Marc’s creations

  • Merve

    As far as im concerned the article tadpolenyc posted didnt really resolve the issue about the scarves, looks like a payoff to me. I never used the word plagairism which is heavy indeed. I said to “ME” it looks like a blatant copy. Who knows maybe I would change my mind if i saw it. I also never said that I dont like marc jacobs….(just the scarf copy and chanel lookalike really got me upset at that point). I loved the Stam and it was an iconic bag. I would never just carry a bag because its Chanel…i think my posts over the months here have shown that.

  • me

    I liked the hearts bags. Obviously many fashion houses are inspired by Chanel, it is the gold standard. This bag just combines too many of them; it is a little too close to the classic flap.


    Love MJ bag, hmm, but not this one!!

  • jun3machina

    “As far as im concerned the article tadpolenyc posted didnt really resolve the issue about the scarves, looks like a payoff to me.”

    do you have any clue how many designers totally rip off other ‘found’ vintage prints, cuts, styles, etc??? every designer does it hon. MJ just got caught this time, where as other designers generally make sure the person they’re ripping off either isn’t trackable or dead already. there’s also a ton of mimicking from art prints, and fabric textiles from third world countries which could be sacred to that culture, yet they are brought to light by fashion houses and mass marketed into perversion if the trend catches on.

  • tadpolenyc

    good point, jun. a good example is the kaffiyeh. many arabs were offended when it became a huge fashion trend. it was popular in the 80s then nicholas ghesquiere of balenciaga sent the scarves down the runway of his fall 07 show and sparked a kaffiyeh resurgence.

  • Arm Candy Lady!

    Well…MJ does it again! He always consistently HITS us with something that makes us all go WOW!!! This bag is like a piece of art…I hope to see one IRL.

  • HmMmluvthatbag

    I beheld the beauty that is the Robert Jennifer today, in the flesh. I had my doubts. I thought dear Marc might have gone overboard. It does have a lot going on.

    Then I saw them. In all of their array of colors. This line is one of the most exquisite I’ve seen. It is a blend of all that is wonderful and an artfully crafted explosion of talent. It is soft, delicate, wild and crazy all at the same time. Just like our man Marc.

    It is easy to make brash assumptions about a bag from one picture. I guess it is easy to make conclusions about the designer from those flawed assumptions. But nothing of value comes from ignorance. So ladies, if you haven’t seen this bag in person, I suggest you hold your comments until you do.

    As far as the designer Marc goes… I could care less about designer stuff. I am not a fashionista at all. Yet when I stumbled across Marc Jacobs’ creations, it was though nothing else existed. He is truly original with his visions. It is deeply insulting to insinuate that he has no talent and must copy superior designers. My dears, I have never seen anyone come up with so many new designs, season after season. This Robert Jennifer is one bag… a spit in the ocean of his designs.

    I can respect that Chanel is a style icon. But to compare Marc to Chanel is folly once again. I have never looked at a Chanel bag twice. While many see classic, I see boring. While many see epitome of fashion, I see an overpriced label. Most Chanel bags I see look like minor mutations of each other. It’s difficult to even know what MJ bags are in the same season! To me, that is artistic talent. When you can go beyond any “trademark” or limitation to style and create EVERYTHING.

  • Juany

    Ok when i first saw this bag online i was like “oh wow, thats something out of the ordinary”(and I also did notice that this line and the jungle themed Louis Vuitton collection do look similar). Today i was in Nordstrom shopping and as i was exiting i saw this bag and it’s larger version with double handles- and after seeing it in person i can honestly say this is a really great looking bag. In the store i freaked out cause it looks so awesome, the leather is soft and the whole coloring of it is interesting. I’ve been home for a couple hours and i’m not as sure about anyone actually purchasing something like that. I could be wrong, but it’s just so different looking that it could be just too much and it would end up looking tacky. But still, if you’re thinking about purchasing this bag or if you’re just interested in what it looks like in real life just go to a Nordstrom, Saks or any of those high end stores and pick it up for a couple minutes. Like i said, i think it’s amazing looking and it’s very practical, but i’m just not sure about how someone could pull off carrying around something that out-there.

  • BohoChic

    I agree with ‘HmMmluvthatbag’. I have just purchased this bag, and i can honestly say that in person it is absolutely beautiful. Pictures definitely don’t do it any justice. The craftsmanship is incredible. This bag looks just as great with jeans as it does with an evening dress. But i can understand that its something that not everyone would wear. Although i saw a picture of Sienna Miller with this bag and she pulls it off beautifully!

  • Kendra

    I love the design, but I don’t know, the pink and grey aren’t sitting right with me. But I’d buy it, it’s different but in a good way. (fb)

  • AW

    It looks oddly old and dingy – probably the color combo and the pattern on it reminds me of some musty old lady’s sofa.