24.02.2015 - Charlotte Hagemann


Marc, the smart


Supermodel Kate Moss and screenwriter and director Sofia Coppola count among his narrow circle of friends; Anna Wintour calls him “an inspirational person” and his runway shows are considered some of the most spectacular to be seen during New York Fashion Week – Marc Jacobs’ collections always surprise and feature plenty of details. He knows what women around the globe want and need to wear. Marc Jacobs is currently one of the most important designers in contemporary fashion. He is zeitgeisty.

If you can make it here…

…you can make it anywhere. Did you know that Marc Jacobs is a real Manhattan boy? As a child of the Upper East Side, he grew up surrounded by eccentric people and a lot of money. Jacobs´ mother was an agent for artists; the designer was born in 1963 – a time when the role of women was evolving rapidly. And Marc Jacobs has kept the spirit of those times alive in his collections today. In his vision, women are strong, self-confident and powerful. His father died when Marc Jacobs was just five years old, and he was subsequently brought up by his grandmother.

It was then that Jacobs first came into contact with fashion. His grandmother was a fashionable lady who taught him how to dress correctly and create an outfit – they knitted together a lot. Those around him knew Jacobs not as a designer, but as something of a local party animal. During the late seventies, he loved going out and rarely missed a party at nightclubs Studio 54 and Hurray. He studied the subculture of the time: music, photography and a new age of emerging supermodels. “I am a totally image inspired person”, he admits. He loved to observe the party crowd, standing in the middle of the dancefloor, and to be part of it. He has had his finger on the pulse of current affairs ever since.

There was also darker side to the designer’s life; as an adult, Marc Jacobs has been heavily involved with drugs. However, he loved clothes more and it was this love prompted him to attend Parson’s School for Design – so he could become a fashion designer. In 1986, after completing his studies, he created his first collection, under his own name, and three years later he became the head designer at fashion label Perry Ellis. The collection that has attracted most attention so far in his career was probably his controversial grunge-inspired one, which made him famous over night. That landmark collection was the reason he was fired from Perry Ellis – but, luckily for him, it also brought him a CFDA nomination. Just a few years later, Jacobs also started working for the Italian label Iceberg, where he had the position of a fashion consultant.

The maison LV

He is known as a multitasker, an innovator, for being new and having the ability to reinvent himself and his collections. Perhaps one of the biggest coups in Marc Ja-cobs’ career was being offered the role of artistic director at the label Louis Vuitton. “I was really nervous about this whole thing at first”. Jacobs moved to Paris for the job, to work more closely with the label and the team. He initially had a tough time with his French colleagues, because he had difficulties in  really understanding the herit-age of the brand. He once had lunch with Bernard Arnault (CEO of LVMH) and sud-denly realised what this traditional fashion maison was all about: “People want to be part of the LV-brand club. It is all about the iconic monogram”. He worked there for almost 16 years, reviving the traditional design house. He took its iconic designs to a new level, giving them a fresh look, simplicity and collaborating  with great artists like Takashi Murakami.

Having finished working at Louis Vuitton in 2012, he is now investing more time in his own label. He has had great success working with design duo Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier on his sister line Marc by Marc Jacobs, and is now increasingly concen-trating on the runway collection for his main line. For Marc Jacobs, the most im-portant thing is to be more focused on one project and to stay true to the idea of the collections: “To me, clothing is a form of self-expression – there are hints about who you are in what you wear.“ But, trust us, one thing is for sure and that is that plans for his next projects are already in the pipeline.

Short Facts


Tattoos, tattoos, tattoos! He has 33 (and still counting!). His most iconic one is a SpongeBob on his right arm. He also has a sofa on his chest…“I am addicted to tattoos!”, says Jacobs.


Marc Jacobs really loves paparazzi photos. Even if they turn up when he is on holiday with his boyfriend or his family.


When Jacobs landed his very first Vogue cover featuring his own design, someone in the subway asked him, “Why the hell do you take the train? I mean, you are featured in Vogue!”


Marc Jacobs is the most nominated (20 nominations) designer in the history of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). He has received eight CFDA awards so far.

1984 Perry Ellis Golden Thimble Award for his graduation collection at Parson’s

1987 Awarded New Fashion Talent by the CFDA

1992 Awarded Women’s Designer of the Year by the CFDA

2009 International Award for Louis Vuitton by the CFDA


1963 - Big Apple life

Marc Jacobs is born in New York City, where he also attends school and later studies at Parson’s School of Design. His parents are both agents for artists. So Marc Ja-cobs grows up in a creative environment, surrounded by the New York art scene.

1984 - Business buddies

At the age of 21 he meets the manager Robert Duffy, who wants to work with him on a collection. They are still (30 years later!) business partners today. Together they invent the label Marc Jacobs. In 1986, two years after they first met, Marc Jacobs designs his first fashion collection under his own name.

1992 - Grunge for lunch

At Perry Ellis, where he designs for more than three years, Marc Jacobs doesn’t have an easy time. His last collection for the label might even be the most iconic in his history: grunge-inspired outfits with satin Birkenstocks and silk checked shirts.

1997 - Americans take over Paris

Robert Duffy and Marc Jacobs move to Paris and start jobs at Louis Vuitton. Jacobs as the artistic director, Duffy as the studio director. In the same year, they open their first ever Marc Jacobs store in Soho, NYC. The brand has been majority-owned by famous fashion house LVMH ever since.

2001 - A brand empire

The secondary line, Marc by Marc Jacobs, is launched with a runway show for Spring/Summer. Over the following years, the brand expands to include an eyewear collection, a children’s collection and several fragrances.

2009 - Fashion meets art

The MET-Gala is a spectacle - organised by Jacobs and Duffy in collaboration with  Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintor, supermodel Kate Moss, and singer Justin Timber-lake. The theme: grunge.

2014 - No gain but a campaign

Shocking and polarising - Miley Cyrus is the face of the Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer ad campaign. Jacobs chooses to work with the young American popstar despite the media storm.





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