Marc Jacobs (1963) is an American designer born in New York City. After graduating from the High School of Art and Design in 1981, he attended Parson’s School of Design where he graduated in 1984 with the best grades, obtaining three awards. At the same time, he designed his first handmade knitwear Collection, presented with his own label for Ruben Thomas Inc. In the same year he established a company with Robert Duffy, the Jacobs Duffy Design.
In 1986 Jacobs designed the first ready-to-wear Collection for Kathiyama USA, always with his label. Two years later, he made a quality impact with a show in a huge parking lot in New York. In 1989 Jacobs and Duffy united with Perry Ellis. Duffy was appointed president and Jacobs vice-president of womenswear design.
Jacobs liked to gamble with how far he could push boundaries, prompting him to take risks and in 1992 Jacobs launched a collection the press tagged as “Grunge”. It cost him his contract with Perry Ellis. The fashion system and critics, however, were enthusiastic and, ironically, that same collection won Jacobs the CFDA’s Women’s Designer of the Year Award.
Marc Jacobs Establishes Company
In Autumn 1993 he established the Marc Jacobs International Company. In 1994 he signed his first license for Renown Look and Mitsubishi for distribution in Japan. Shortly after, he signed a license for men and women’s shoe Collection with Iris, which has its plant near Venice.
Jacobs continued to work with other brands to fund his project. In 1996, while he was in Milan working for Iceberg, he received a phone call from Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, looking for young designers for his French maison. In January 1997, Jacobs was appointed artistic director for Louis Vuitton. The negotiations also brought in the initial financing to re-launch the Marc Jacobs label, which LVMH wasted no time incorporating into its empire.
Such great responsibility, along with the large workload, took its toll and Jacobs turned to drugs, landing him in rehab. Some people stood by him, including the director of American Vogue, Anna Wintour and his friend, model Naomi Campbell. Then, 2 years alter in 1999 he checked himself into rehab, got clean, and focused on developing Louis Vuitton’s first ready to wear line while expanding his own label.
In 2001 Jacobs and Duffy presented a second line Marc by Marc Jacobs, which included shoes, bags, and accessories. Men and women’s shoes are the result of an agreement signed with the shoe factory Rossi Moda Spa. Later, in September the designer launched his first fragrance, Marc Jacobs Perfume.
Awards & New Store Openings
In 2002 the Council of Fashion Designers of America named Marc Jacobs the Menswear Designer of the Year, Accessories Designer of the Year in 1998/99, 2003 and 2005 and the Womenswear Designer of the Year in 2010. In December 2003 Marc Jacobs brand debuted a household Collection composed of furniture.
In 2004, after a lucrative contract renewal with LVMH, the label adopted strategies to extend its geographic reach and economics. It was a busy year including the launch of the first multi-brand store in the USA, in Newbury Street, Boston. Then, in August new stores opened in Shanghai, Beijing, and Chengdu thanks to the agreement with Imaginex. This was followed by another important event: the third woman’s fragrance, Blush, was launched thanks to an alliance with the established Lancaster group.
Also, the American brand Fossil made a license agreement with the company for the production and the distribution of women and men’s watches, under the brand Marc by Marc Jacobs. The new lines were produced in Switzerland and sold in Marc Jacobs boutiques and selected department stores around the world. Then, the Italian Sàfilo Spa started the production of an eyewear Collection, which was to be put on sale from Spring of the following year.
March 2005 marked the opening of many sales points: two in Los Angeles on Melrose Place and one in Florida, in Bal Harbour. Later, in June Marc Jacobs received the Fashion Designer of America award for womenswear. In August 2005, the brand lauched its children-wear line, called Little Marc.
In January 2006, the company opened the first monobrand store in Rue Montpensier in Paris, a boutique of 150 square meters. At that time, the collections were also distributed in twelve mono-brand stores in the US and thirteen mono-brand stores in Asia.
The 2007 was an eventful year including the launch of his first eyewear collection, his new Marc Jacobs Home Fragrance Collection and his first fragrance Daisy. In 2009, Marc Jacobs won the 37th edition of the Fragrance Foundation FiFi Award, receiving the Hall of Fame Award.
Collaborations & Events
In 2010 there were many collaborations and events, like the installation of the ballet shoes worn by the ballerinas of the Opéra Garnier, designed for the opening of the shop at the Palais Royal. 2010 was also the year of the advertising campaign of the first men fragrance, Bang. The ad portrayed the designer himself completely naked on silver bedsheets, covered by a huge bottle of perfume only.
Also in the same year, Marc Jacobs opened a chain of bookstores in New York and in Los Angeles, called Bookmarc. A book dedicated to his creative entourage is published with the title of “The Men + Women Of Marc Jacobs”, a limited edition volume of 300 pages which illustrates the world and life of the designer through the lens of the photographer Brian Bowen Smith.
In 2012, Bookmarc also lands in Europe, with two stores in London and Paris. One year later, Marc Jacobs starts supporting the fight against cancer creating a limited edition of shopping bags with the slogan “Fight Like A Girl”. The entire revenues of the initiative were devoluted to the Action Breast Cancer and Europa Donna Ireland associations.
Resigns from Louis Vuitton
In October 2013, Marc Jacobs resigned from his role of creative director of Louis Vuitton, which he reigned since 1997, in order to focus on his own lines.
In 2014, Marc Jacobs to find the face of his autumn/winter 2014 campaign of his second line, Marc by Marc Jacobs, used Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #CastMeMarc, created specifically by Jacobs’s team.
In March 2015, Marc Jacobs announced the end of his secondary brand Marc by Marc Jacobs in order to focus on the development of his main label Marc Jacobs and to target a more luxury oriented audience.
In September 2016, the designer presented the collection spring-summer 2017 with a modern punk style inspired by the rave design of the 80’s and by people like Boy George and Marilyn Manson. In the collection fall winter 2017 he made the New York 67th Street Armory a runway where the models walk across two long lines of folding chairs without any kind of music.