US designer Marc Jacobs set to leave Louis Vuitton
By Helen Rowe, AFPPARIS--Marc Jacobs, the U.S. designer credited with transforming Louis Vuitton from “stodgy luggage house” to global fashion giant on Wednesday received a standing ovation as news of his departure broke.
October 3, 2013, 12:11 am TWN
The U.S. designer with a flair for showmanship is wrapping up his 16-year tenure to concentrate on a stock exchange flotation of his own brand, estimated by market sources to be “approaching the billion-dollar leagues.”
Under his stewardship, Louis Vuitton has become one of the most sought after luxury brands, particularly in the lucrative Asian market, with “Vuitton mania” regularly prompting round-the-block queues outside the brand's stores.
The news coincided with Jacobs' last show for Louis Vuitton, on the final day of the Paris ready-to-wear collections. A celebration of his work for the label, it was presented entirely in black, just as his first was.
Jacobs and Bernard Arnault, chairman of Louis Vuitton parent company LVMH, confirmed the move to industry journal Women's Wear Daily following months of speculation.
The designer, whose contract had been due to expire at the end of the year, had been in contract negotiations with Louis Vuitton and LVMH.
The 50-year-old, who pioneered Louis Vuitton's first ever ready-to-wear clothing collection in 1997, was hailed for his innovation at the luxury brand.
“Jacobs leaves Vuitton after a dazzling 16-year run during which he orchestrated the transformation of the leather goods giant from a stodgy luggage house to a global fashion presence,” WWD said.
“He pioneered the concept of the fashion-art runway collaboration, first with Stephen Sprouse and later, with several artists including Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince,” it said, recalling how the bags he designed with Sprouse and Murakami became global phenomena.
It is understood that the initial public offering (IPO), expected within the next three years, will require Jacobs to be fully focused on his own brand in order to ensure the highest possible valuation.
Fashion designer Marc Jacobs acknowledges applause following the presentation of the ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2014 fashion collection he designed for Vuitton, Paris, Wednesday, ...