Haute Historian: American Fashion Maverick Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs Fashion History

Marc Jacobs is a main fixture of American fashion: he has invented fashion movements and trends, has worked for some of the biggest fashion houses in the business and has received numerous awards for his achievements. He was born in New York City 1963. His father died when Jacobs was a child; after, he spent much of his childhood moving as his mother married three more times. As a teenager, he lived with his grandmother, whom he now credits as one of his biggest influences. Jacobs attended the High School of Art and Design, and then studied at Parson’s School of Design, where his graduate collection received the school’s most prestigious awards upon graduating. It was this collection—a show of Op-Art sweaters knit by his grandmother—that brought his first bout of fame. Barbara Weiser, owner of Charivari boutique in New York, placed an order for them to be sold in her store. And Robert Duffy, now Jacobs’ business partner, hired Jacobs to design Sketchbook, an auxiliary line of Reuben Thomas, Inc.

As one of America’s most popular designers, it may not come as a surprise that Jacobs road to fame was a quick one. After two successful collections for Sketchbook, Reuben Thomas, Inc. went out of business. Cut to a year later, and Duffy and Jacobs had established their partnership. 1986 brought Jacobs’ first collection for his eponymous label, and in 1987, he was the youngest designer to receive the CFDA’s Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent. Jacobs and Duffy started working for Perry Ellis two years later, where they served as vice president and president for women’s wear. That’s when Jacobs created his famous “grunge” collection in 1992—a very controversial line. It got rave reviews by critics, but wasn’t successful commercially. The collection led to the duo’s dismissal from Perry Ellis, but also earned Jacobs the Women’s Designer of the Year award from the CFDA.

From then on, Jacobs and Duffy concentrated on Marc Jacobs’ label. Marc Jacobs International Company was launched in April 1994, and its secondary line, Marc by Marc Jacobs, launched in 2001. Marc Jacobs was also appointed creative director of Louis Vuitton in January 1997, where he quadrupled business within ten years. Recently, with a fresh focus on his main Marc Jacobs lines that recently saw Jacobs leaving Louis Vuitton and absolving the Marc by Marc line into the main line, it seems Jacobs has more big plans up his sleeve.

1. Louis Vuitton Fall 2013 RTW

2. Marc Jacobs Fall 2015 RTW

3. Marc Jacobs Fall 2015 RTW

4. Marc Jacobs photographed by Craig McDean for the CFDA

5. December 2014 campaign for Marc Jacob’s trio of perfumes.

– Tanisha Wallis

Image Layout: Tequlia Perrin

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