The Story Of Marc Jacobs

The Story of Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs is the American fashion designer best known for his eponymous label Marc Jacobs, his diffusion line Marc by Marc Jacobs and his tenure at Louis Vuitton as creative director.

Marc Jacobs was born in New York City in 1963. He spent much of his early life moving from place to place following the death of his father and the three subsequent marriages of his mother. As a teenager he lived with his paternal grandmother, whom he has credited as being one of his greatest influences. “I always say I lived my life with my grandmother,” Jacobs told New York Magazine in 2005. “She was emotionally stable, and she was very encouraging to me.”

After graduating from the High School of Art and Design in 1981, he studied at the world-famous Parsons School of Design. In his final year he was awarded three of the schools highest honors – Design Student of the Year, the Perry Ellis Gold Thimble Award and the Chester Weinberg Gold Thimble Award – thanks to his graduate collection of Op-Art sweaters hand-knitted by his grandmother. At his graduate show, the sweaters attracted much attention – including that of Barbara Weiser, owner of New York’s Charivari boutique, who subsequently placed an order for them to be professionally produced and sold in her boutique under the label Marc Jacobs for Marc and Barbara. He also caught the eye of Robert Duffy. Duffy enlisted Jacobs to design for the company’s subsidiary label, Sketchbook. “They [the sweaters] were photographed all over. That was sort of the beginning of my career. I met my business partner, Robert Duffy – who I’m still with – at that same Parsons Fashion show. He was working for a Seventh Avenue company and convinced them to hire me straight out of school,” Jacobs told Metro Source in 2002.

Marc Jacobs designed two collections for Sketchbook, both of which garnered much praise from critics, before Reuben Thomas Inc. went out of business in 1985. The following year Jacobs and Duffy established a partnership and in 1986 Jacobs showed his first collection bearing the Marc Jacobs label. In 1987 he became the youngest designer ever to receive the CFDA’s Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent. Two years later, he and Duffy joined sportswear label Perry Ellis as vice president and president, respectively, of women’s design. Jacobs enjoyed a successful tenure at the label – where he employed a then-unknown Tom Ford to work alongside him on womenswear – until 1992 when he showed the now-infamous spring/summer 1993 “grunge” collection. Although the collection was extremely well received by the press, it was a commercial failure and lead to both him and Duffy being dismissed from their roles at the company in early 1993. Nevertheless, in the same year he won the Women’s Designer of the Year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Later the same year Jacobs and Duffy launched their own licensing and design company, Marc Jacobs International Company, and in April 1994 Jacobs showed his comeback collection, supported by the likes of Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell who walked in his show for free.

In January 1997 Marc Jacobs was named creative director of Louis Vuitton, where he was tasked with the creation of the house’s first ready-to-wear clothing line. At the same time, LVMH also bought a stake in Jacobs’ own label, allowing him the financial freedom to expand his business and to open his first boutique .In the spring of 2001 Jacobs introduced his secondary line, Marc by Marc Jacobs.

He also collaborated with others, including designer Stephen Sprouse, with whom he launched the immediately successful Louis Vuitton Speedy graffiti handbag (2001). In 2003 he worked with the Japanese visual artist Takashi Murakami to produce the critically acclaimed Louis Vuitton Eye Love Monogram collection, which replaced the brand’s traditional beige-and-brown monogrammed canvas with a multicolored palette featuring pop-art graphics, such as cartoon eyes. In 2003 it was the launch of the Marc Jacobs Home Collection. The collection began as a small line of home accessories. The line included crystal, sterling silver, cashmere pillows and other luxury accessories for the home. In 2005 Jacobs launched a line of children’s wear, Little Marc Jacobs. The year 2005 also brought the launch of the company’s first watch line with partner, Fossil and collection store in Paris. Then, in 2009, he released a collection under the Marc by Marc Jacobs label called “Don’t Miss the Marc”, which featured colorful, playful and more affordable clothes.

In 2011 Marc Jacobs was awarded the CFDA’s prestigious Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement prize. The same year he introduced Greatest Hits – a capsule collection of its best-selling pieces, to celebrate 10 years of the Marc by Marc Jacobs line. In February, Marc collaborated with Playboy on three limited-edition tees sporting variations of its iconic bunny motif (100 percent of profits benefit Designers Against AIDS). Marc Jacobs also designed a limited-edition T-shirt in support of marriage equality efforts by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil-rights organization. “I pay my taxes, I want my RIGHTS!” the shirt reads.

As of 2011 the CFDA had crowned Jacobs Womenswear Designer of the Year three times, Accessory Designer of the Year four times and Menswear designer of the Year once. In 2012 it was announced that an exhibition of his work for the French fashion house would be staged at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris from March 2012 until September 2012. In October 2013, after 16 years as creative director, Jacobs revealed he was departing Louis Vuitton. The announcement came immediately after the label’s spring/summer 2014 show in Paris. In Summer 2013, there were 285 Marc Jacobs retail stores (including Marc by Marc Jacobs & Marc Jacobs Collection) in 60 countries. In 2013 December, the new Marc Jacobs flagship store opened in Shanghai. 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 to more luxury oriented audience.

Jacobs has an ongoing project entitled, “Protect The Skin You’re In”, which has celebrities pose nude, with their breasts and frontal area covered, for T-shirts to raise awareness about melanoma and all sales benefit research at the NYU Langone Medical Center. Some of the celebrities that have posed are: Miley Cyrus, Eva Mendes, Kate Upton, Victoria Beckham, Heidi Klum, Hilary Swank and Naomi Campbell.