A History of Lil’ Kim and Marc Jacobs’s Friendship

The designer and rapper have been self-described “besties” since 2004.

by Mario Abad

Collage by Ashley Peña

When Lil’ Kim announced this week that the edits for her forthcoming memoir were complete, it was also revealed the foreword would be written by none other than Marc Jacobs, the trailblazing designer who counts Kim as his muse and confidant.

“Marc Jacobs is one of my very close friends,” the musician once told MTV TRL. “I hang out with him behind the scenes, at his house, in his office when he’s creating before a fashion show.” In a separate interview with Fat Joe, she proclaimed: “That man is the realest designer you’ll ever meet. Ain’t nothing phony about that man. I’ve met some designers that are super fake.”

Indeed, the two have long been bubbly with each other publicly and on social media—but their relationship goes all the way back to 2004, when they first met at Jacobs’s Spring 2005 show at New York Fashion Week. “Kim came backstage and I said, ‘I’m so thrilled to meet you, you’re the greatest, blah blah blah.’ And we kind of became friends from that point on,” Jacobs told i-D in 2006. Jacobs’s press team had invited the rapper to meet the designer because he would frequently listen to her music while designing in the studio. “Marc used to say he had to hear ‘How Many Licks’ before he picked a fabric,” Lil’ Kim added.

The relationship has come a long way since then, with the duo connected through fashion awards, jail sentences, weddings, Met Galas, and even song lyrics (“Hold on, let me take this call / Marc Jacobs on line two,” she rapped in the “O Let’s Do It” remix, and “On the red carpet in Marc Jacobs clothes / You see me: fashion week, front row at all the shows” in “I Know You See Me”).

When Kim Met Marc

Marc Jacobs and Lil’ Kim during Marc Jacobs’s New York Fashion Week spring 2005 after party at Pier 54.

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

While Jacobs has long been a fan of Lil’ Kim’s music—he’s known to blast her songs while working in his Spring Street studio—the two didn’t meet until right after the designer’s spring 2005 show for Olympus Fashion Week (as NYFW was then called).

“I don’t ask who’s coming, I don’t get involved in the whole invitation or press thing or whatever,” Jacobs told i-D at the time. “But Scott from the press office knows that we love Kim. There had been seasons where they said Missy is coming, and then she never came. So I was like, ‘Okay, the one thing you have to promise me is that after the show if Kim comes, I want to meet her.’”

Kim, who arrived in a parakeet-green dress and emerald jewelry, also showed up to Jacobs’s after party at Pier 54. It was the beginning of a long, fruitful friendship.

Kim Presents Marc With an Award

Marc Jacobs and Lil’ Kim attend The Fashion Group International’s 21st Annual Night of Stars at Cipriani’s 42nd Street on October 28, 2004 in New York City.

Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Just a few weeks after the new friends met, Jacobs had Kim present him with an accessories award at Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars Gala at Cipriani in Midtown Manhattan. She arrived as his date in a red ruffled dress with velvet bow from Jacobs’s fall 2004 runway.

“To my friend, Marc” she squealed at the ceremony. “When he’s in heaven, he’ll be sewing my clothes.” Jacobs returned the favor: “What I admire most about creative people is having something to say and being fearless about saying it.”

Met Gala Power Couple

Lil’ Kim and Marc Jacobs attend the 2005 Met Gala celebrating Chanel in New York City.

Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images

While 2005 wasn’t the first time Lil’ Kim attended the Met Gala (that happened in 1999, when she arrived as a guest of Versace, becoming the first female rapper to snag an invitation to the exclusive event), it held much significance—since she attended with her bestie in tow.

“I love every time I go with Marc, hands down,” she told Vogue. “Marc is so young and fun. He and Char [Defrancesco] are my husbands. We would be out laughing at stuff that wasn’t even part of the event, just kids having a good time.” The red rosette dress Jacobs made for her that night ended up being put in the museum.

The Interview Interview

Jacobs interviewed Kim for the August 2005 music issue of Interview magazine, which released just after Kim was sentenced to a year in prison for perjury. The interview was to promote her fourth album, The Naked Truth.

“So listen, this may be a weird thing to ask, but I know you’re going through some rough times right now—is there anything you want to say to your fans, or anything you want to say, period?” Jacobs asked, to which Kim replied: “I just want to say thank you, I love you, and [making kissing sounds] ‘muah muah muah’—those are kisses for all my fans...My fans have always been supportive, but it’s like, I accumulated a different kind of fan.”

More tidbits from their conversation: “I’ll never forget when I met you, and you told me that you listen to my albums,” the rapper said. “I was like, ‘Marc Jacobs listens to Lil’ Kim?’”

“After being at work for 14 hours, we know what we need to get the creative juices flowing and to get our energy up again,” Jacobs responded. “We all do karaoke to your songs.”

Joan of Arc

An iconic photo shoot in a 2005 issue of Flaunt magazine depicted Kim portrayed as Joan of Arc—wearing, of course, head-to-toe Marc Jacobs.

Marc Loves Lil’ Kim T-Shirt

The after party for Jacobs’s spring 2006 show doubled as a Lil’ Kim charity concert, with the designer creating a “Marc Loves Lil’ Kim” t-shirt to benefit The Door, a nonprofit for at-risk youth. (As a child living in Brooklyn, Lil’ Kim was a former Door member.)

The shirts, which were displayed on the windows at the former Marc by Marc Jacobs boutique on Bleecker Street, featured a large photograph of Lil’ Kim taken by Roger Erickson and retailed for $20. They were, without question, a limited-edition release—the company only made 6,000 tees. Kim’s performance at the party, which was captured by the cameras for her BET reality show “Countdown to Lockdown,” was the only live promotion of her album The Naked Truth before she went to prison a week later.

Prison Pen Pals

For the entirety of Kim’s one-year-and-one-day spent in prison, Jacobs wrote letters and even sent the musician money. (This also followed Lil Kim’s numerous court appearances, for which Jacobs sent her a range of looks to wear.) “He’s one of my best friends and was actually a huge supporter when I was in prison [from 2006 to 2007],” Kim told StyleList. “He wrote me every week!” Additionally, she sent him artwork she made in jail—a coloring book featuring Bratz dolls wearing Marc Jacobs outfits—which he blew up, framed, and hung in his house.

A Wedding to Remember

Lil’ Kim attends Marc Jacobs and Char DeFrancesco’s wedding reception at The Grill in Midtown Manhattan on April 06, 2019.

Photo by Gotham/GC Images

At Jacobs’s lavish wedding to his partner Char Defrancesco in 2019, Kim arrived in a beaded top with an asymmetric tulle skirt and pink headpiece. “Nobody treats their people like Kim treats her people,” Defrancesco has said of Lil’ Kim. “Anything Kim has, she’ll give you—[even] the shirt off her back. She’s the most genuine, loyal, down-to-earth, humble, amazing person you’ve ever met.”

Marc’s Fashion Trailblazer Award

At the 2019 VMAs, Jacobs was the first person to receive the Fashion Trailblazer award. Kim dedicated an Instagram post in honor of the designer’s achievement.

“I am so proud of my bestie Marc Jacobs 🙌🏽” she wrote. “God put us together for a reason. I remember having lunch with you in the showrooms and offices, listening to my music and all genres of music for your motivation and passion. We always shared the same love of fashion and music. We understand each other on a whole other level, which is why we’re the perfect match.”

A House Mother

The House of Marc Jacobs performs with Lil’ Kim at the Outloud Raising Voices Music Festival at WeHo Pride on June 3, 2022 in West Hollywood, California.

Photo by Sarah Morris/WireImage

At a WeHo Pride performance this summer, Kim announced that she’s officially the new house mother of the legendary ballroom group, the House of Marc Jacobs. Formed in 2021, the house was the first to launch with the blessing of the designer himself. And thus, the Lil’-Kim-Marc-Jacobs friend group widened—significantly.