Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton

Marc Jacobs was born in New York in 1960, the son of two theatrical agents. His father died when he was only 7 years old. He went to live with his grandmother, who taught him how to knit. He attended Parsons School of Design, and in his final year (1984) created a collection of handknit sweaters (made by his grandmother) which won him the Perry Ellis Golden Thimble award. He spent his formative years shuttling between school and Studio 54, the Manhattan Disco.

After graduating, he designed under his own label for two years, creating irreverent take-offs of 60's hippie style clothing and versions of patchwork and gingham.

In 1984, he became the youngest designer ever to be awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America's prize for new talent.

In 1988, he joined PERRY ELLIS where he became known for a youthful, witty style which showed confident use of colour and spare silhouettes. He created a red and white tablecloth check ensemble embroidered with black ants, and a Freudian 'slip' imprinted with Freud's face. He was also well-known for his 1992 'grunge' collection which in fact caused he and Perry Ellis to part company.

He left Perry Ellis in 1993, He went back todesigning under his own label. He favours sensuous fabrics such as angora, cashmere and mohair and will occasionally surprise with neon rubber separates and laminated sequined jeans. In 1997, he was voted Womenswear Designer of the Year by the CFDA.

In 1997, he won the design job at Louis Vuitton, the elegant French luggage maker. He has introduced modern pop and kisch into their sedate image. Stella Tennant, fashion model, said "Marc's shows are always fun to do - and I love his clothes."

He also makes what the New York Times calls his 'caviar clothes' for the up market women. Here Naomi Campbell is wearing powder grey cashmere vest and flat fronted trousers. Rich women in the 30's are attracted to his witty update of the Vuitton brand that has been carried by generations before them.

Robert Duffy is Jacobs business partner, who has worked with him from his earliest days at Perry Ellis. Louis Vuitton is owned by LVMH of Arnault Bernard, the same owner of Givenchy and Dior. LVMH appointed Jacobs to the helm of Vuitton giving him responsibility for launching the ready-to-wear collections, and adding new accessories to the existing lines.


Marc Jacobs has now moved to Paris, although he prefers working in his New York studio. His Paris studio is just steps away from the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral. He says "Paris is a splendid city but it lacks New York's energy, it has no youth culture."

Marc Jacobs is just the person to propel the 154 year old company into the future. Vuitton, an impeccable but rather conservative leather-goods house, is now one of the world's most sought-after fashion labels.

In the year 2000/2002, the city of New York decided to honour 24 American fashion designers by placing bronze plaques along the pavement of 7th Avenue, the great street of fashion in New York. This has been called the "FASHION WALK OF FAME." Marc Jacobs was one of those honoured with a plaque.

Article from Designer History

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