Paris Fashion Week: Marc Jacobs leaves Louis Vuitton to focus on his own brand after emotional show

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Designer leaves fashion house to focus on his brand with inspiring final collection

Fashion Editor

Marc Jacobs shows his Louis Vuitton collections in the Cour Carrée of the Louvre, once the seat of power for France's Bourbon monarchs. Which is very appropriate, because Vuitton is French fashion royalty. And a Louis, to boot.

This season it felt especially apt, given the mood of Paris. Revolution was in the air -  the swirling intrigues, barbed comments and daggered glances cloaked in exquisite clothes, have a Choderlos de Laclos quality to them. The tricoteuses were only off the street because they were knitting sweaters for Chanel.

Said intrigues concerned themselves with Jacobs' seat of power at Vuitton, and the rumours that, after sixteen years, he was stepping down from LV to focus on his eponymous brand - a brand that launched a beauty range earlier this year, and is set for imminent IPO.

Backstage after the show, those rumours became fact. The 10-year contracts of both Jacobs, 50, and his his long-time business partner Robert Duffy, 58, expiring at the end of this year, will not be renewed. They are leaving Louis Vuitton to focus on the expansion of the Marc Jacobs brand.

Jacobs was the first fashion designer to create clothing under the Louis Vuitton brand. Installed as designer in 1997, following the high-profile appointments of Alexander McQueen at Givenchy and John Galliano at Dior, Jacobs outlasted both. His 16 year tenure as creative director of Louis Vuitton is bettered only by Karl Lagerfeld's forty-eight years at Fendi, and thirty years at Chanel.

Born to a non-orthodox Jewish family in New York in 1963 - his father, a William Morris Agent, died when he was seven - Marc Jacobs had a passion for fashion and a lust to succeed from an early age. He launched his label in 1984 while still a student at Parsons School of Design when a range of sweaters he created were snapped up by the New York boutique, Charivari, launching him on a fashion career. Robert Duffy - who worked alongside him at Vuitton - was with him from the start, the two forming Jacobs Duffy Designs Inc. He showed his first eponymous collection in 1986.

Jacobs' career has never been short of controversy. The furore over Kate Moss smoking a cigarette on the winter 2011 Vuitton catwalk pales in comparison to his 1992 “Grung” collection for Perry Ellis. Inspired by the music of Nirvana and the style of Courtney Love, the collection launched a thousand imitations. It also got Jacobs fired.

Jacobs' tenure at Louis Vuitton has been smoother. It's also been paved with gold: for the past six consecutive years (2006–2012) Louis Vuitton has been named the world's most valuable luxury brand. It rakes in £5.8 billion per year.

It's also transformed Jacobs himself into a fashion megastar. A 2008 New Yorker profile relayed that market research at a Midwestern mall showed American shoppers recognised the Marc Jacobs name, although their perceptions of him were somewhat confused. Most thought he was an actor or a rock star.

The focus on Jacobs' own label, which continues to be part of Bernard Arnault's LVMH stable (the luxury goods conglomerate who own Louis Vuitton, amongst others), is canny. Despite its success, Vuitton maintains a position at the very highest echelon of luxury, with no lower-priced lines or cosmetics. Marc Jacobs, by contrast, has beauty and highly-successful fragrances, as well as his diffusion line Marc by Marc Jacobs. Earlier this year, the British designer Luella Bartley was tapped to direct those collections.

All indications are that Marc Jacobs is an empire complex. His stepping down from Louis Vuitton is an acknowledgement, perhaps, that his own name is a strong enough brand, both creatively and commercially, to demand his full attentions. LVMH must also agree.

Fashion fans, however, will doubtless miss his high-profile Louis Vuitton shows, the traditional finale to Paris Fashion Week.

His successor at Louis Vuitton is expected to be announced shortly. If those intrigues are once again proven correct, it will be Nicolas Ghesquière, the much-feted Frenchman who headed Balenciaga until October 2012.

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

    Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

    £45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

    Day In a Page

    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
    Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

    Look what's mushrooming now!

    Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
    Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

    Oeuf quake

    Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
    Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

    Terry Venables column

    Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
    Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin