It looks like Coach Inc. is casting a wide net to find the brand’s next creative director — wide enough to cover some very big fish, including none other than Marc Jacobs.
The inclusion of Jacobs’ name on the dream list of candidates for the Coach job is igniting a whirlwind of speculation — from whether the designer’s contract at Louis Vuitton will be renewed when it expires at the end of the year to whether Jacobs, and his partner LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, could follow in the footsteps of Michael Kors and go for an initial public offering of his namesake brand.
It could not be learned whether Jacobs has been contacted about the Coach job and sources stressed his inclusion on the list of candidates is speculative at this point. According to sources, other candidates on the list include the likes of former Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière, Chloé’s creative director Clare Waight Keller, Derek Lam, Phillip Lim, and Emma Hill, former creative director at Mulberry.
Coach is searching for a successor for Reed Krakoff, president and executive creative director, who is stepping down after a 16-year career helming the New York-based accessories powerhouse. He is to make a final exit in June 2014 to concentrate on his high-end namesake brand, although sources said he could exit sooner if a successor is found. RELATED STORY: Reed Krakoff Exiting Coach to Focus on Own Line >>
Coach, which launched Krakoff’s brand two-and-a-half years ago, said it would explore “strategic options” for the Reed Krakoff collection that “may involve a sale to a group, in which Krakoff would participate.” On Friday, sources confirmed a Wall Street Journal report that Coach has hired Perella Weinberg to handle a sale of the Krakoff brand. A Coach spokesman declined comment on the report.
Karen Harvey Consulting has been hired to find Krakoff’s successor at Coach. Executive search specialists have suggested the company is also likely to look at high-profile “executive designers” in global brands such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Jimmy Choo.
One possible successor to Krakoff in this category is Deborah Lloyd, president and chief creative officer of Kate Spade.
Coach is also said to be searching for a chief merchandising officer, considered a crucial post that will work in tandem with the future creative director.
Jacobs is surely the most intriguing of possible targets for the creative director role, suggesting the industry at large views an exit from Vuitton — despite his blockbuster tenure at the French leather goods giant — as a possibility.
It is understood Jacobs and Robert Duffy commenced discussions to renew their current Vuitton contracts sometime back in 2012. Earlier this year, the designer referenced meetings he had to attend on the subject. Jacobs and Duffy revealed they had signed 10-year contracts with Vuitton in 2004 that extended their employment there through 2013.
According to a Paris source, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has not conducted parallel talks with any other potential candidates to take over the creative helm at Vuitton, dampening widespread speculation that Ghesquière is the heir apparent. He has been dropping hints, privately and in interviews in niche magazines, that he’s got a big project looming — and he is frequently seen in the company of LVMH executives in Paris.
Ghesquière declined all comment on “rumors about future projects.”
According to market sources, negotiations Jacobs is conducting with LVMH have extended beyond his Vuitton contract and could see his entanglements with the French group altered or recalibrated.
In broad terms, the New York-based operating company, Marc Jacobs International, is majority controlled by LVMH, the parent of a galaxy of brands in fashion and leather goods, wines and spirits, watches and jewelry, perfumes and cosmetics, and selective retail. The ownership of the Marc Jacobs trademarks, meanwhile, is split equally between LVMH, Jacobs and Duffy, who is president of Marc Jacobs International.
Among the wilder possibilities floated during talks, according to a Paris source, has been a possible spin-off and initial public offering of Marc Jacobs. One impetus would be to maximize the potential of Jacobs’ business, believed to be approaching the $1 billion revenue leagues, as an independent company.
No doubt the runaway success of Michael Kors’ 2011 placement on the New York Stock Exchange, and a stock market that’s hungry for new offerings, has compelled Jacobs and Duffy to consider that lucrative option.
Sources stressed that the spin-off scenario is a separate negotiation to the Vuitton contract renewal, and the likelihood of an agreement on either subject could not be learned.
Another Paris source strongly downplayed the likelihood of a spin-off, noting that LVMH continues to invest heavily in Jacobs’ business, spurred on by its rapid international success, and that the French group has no need to seek outside funding.
LVMH chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault is loathe to off-load businesses in his sprawling luxury empire, especially ones with great expansion potential like Jacobs. What’s more, he is said to have formed a strong bond with the designer and Duffy over their long partnership.
In any event, if Jacobs, Duffy and LVMH were to entertain the possibility of a listing, it could take a couple of years to lay the groundwork.
Duffy declined to comment on its talks with LVMH, saying only they are ongoing.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)