Rumors have swirled since before the New York collections about possible changes at Marc Jacobs. Now, those changes are coming into focus. One big move: the Marc by Marc Jacobs label will be discontinued, and that collection will be absorbed into the primary Marc Jacobs line.
Sources said the newly expanded, single-label Marc Jacobs brand will encompass a range of merchandise and price points currently divided between the two lines, from luxury to contemporary. The point, sources indicated, is not to lessen the product range, but to unify all products with a clarity of voice and aesthetic, and ultimately, to expand the product offerings, an initiative in development at least since October 2013, when Jacobs left Louis Vuitton to focus fully on his own brand, including a possible IPO.
At that time, LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault told WWD, “The first step is to put in place the organization, and to complete the business plan, which requires retail organization, retail investment and more products. These steps have already started. This will take time, maybe two or three years, to be completely in place.”
Staffing ramifications remain unclear. Marc by Marc Jacobs is designed by creative director Katie Hillier and women’s design director Luella Bartley, both appointed in May 2013. Hillier’s history with the brand and with LVMH predates that appointment; she worked with Marc by Marc Jacobs in various freelance capacities and elsewhere within the group for the previous 10 years and remains highly thought of within the company.
Also unclear is how the brand’s current stores, particularly those in clusters on Bleecker Street in New York’s West Village and on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, will be impacted. In 2013, Arnault cited the need to bolster the brand’s overall retail presence. “It’s why we have to invest in the product, because retail means some investment,” he said. “Whether we buy some buildings or rent some buildings, it’s a substantial investment.…To fill the stores, especially if the stores are larger, we need more products. It’s very simple.…” Arnault added.
Jacobs and Sebastian Suhl, who took over as chief executive officer of Marc Jacobs in September, could not be reached for comment at press time.