Marc Jacobs Says Au Revoir to Louis Vuitton

Wednesday 2nd October 2013 marks the end of an era; the 16 year long reign of Marc Jacobs as King of Louis Vuitton has come to a spellbinding end. Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH, put an end to the fashion rumour mill last week by revealing that Jacobs is stepping down as Creative Directive in order to work towards an IPO for his eponymous label. For those of us who don’t speak financial lingo, an ‘IPO’ is an Initial Public Offering- basically it’s when a company goes public by selling shares of the business on the stock market. Arnault predicts that this is going to take place in about 3 years’ time, so Jacobs has left in order to focus on both Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs and prepare them for the launch. Not only will this involve opening its flagship store in Shanghai but also hopefully expanding its collection handbag business; something we’re very excited about here at HCX.
So 16 years has gone by, and what has the notoriously outrageous Mr Jacobs been up to? Aside from transforming Louis Vuitton from a demure luggage company into a dazzling global powerhouse, he has definitely been setting tongues wagging. If we flash back a few years to 2008, can you remember the Marc Jacobs bribery scandal? He had to pay a $1m fine after he was accused of bribing a superintendent to use a sought-after location for his fashion shows; supposedly by giving the state employee exercise equipment. Then later that year he was sued by the son of 1950s designer Gösta Olofsson for plagiarizing the design of one of his dad’s scarves. Jacobs paid off Mr Olofsson with an undisclosed amount of money and looking at both the scarves now it is hard to tell them apart- naughty Marc!
Fast forward 3 years to 2011 and Marc’s business partner Robert Duffy was embroiled in a sex scandal with a former employee. The former COO of Marc Jacobs, Patrice Lataillade, claimed that Duffy created a "discriminatory environment” whereby he forced employees to look at gay pornography in the office, he produced and distributed a book which had photos of staff in sexual positions (sometimes nude) and required a store employee to perform a pole dance for him. So it seems it’s not only Marc Jacobs who gets into trouble…
Of course it wasn’t long until Marc was back in the spotlight again, this time for hiring two 14 year old models to walk the runway in his Autumn/Winter 2012 show, despite it being against industry guidelines. Plus, earlier this year it was claimed that some of his Marc by Marc Jacobs coats that are advertised to have faux fur adorning them, instead have racoon dog hair on them- watch out girls!
Needless to say, his mischievous side is one of the things we all know and love Marc Jacobs for. His swansong funeral-esque show in Paris last week is one that won’t be forgotten as it featured many aspects of his tenure at LV. Props from the sets of some of his most elaborate shows were showcased such as the carousel, the “Night Porter” lifts and a railway station clock, all adding to the darkly glamorous ambiance. Although the all black collection seems fitting for Jacobs’ farewell show, he claims it was coincidental and he only decided that the retrospective show would be his last a few hours before it- talk about spur of the moment! 

So the question remains, who is going to fill these beautiful, designer shoes? The front runner with the fashion bookies is former Balenciaga Creative Director Nicolas Ghesquière, and it has all but been confirmed thanks to various bloggers camping outside of his front door since the news broke of Jacobs’ departure. At the time of writing this article a spokesperson for Louis Vuitton has declined to comment, so we’ll have to just wait and see ladies. Keep your eyes peeled for any LV related announcements; who knows who is going to be the next pyjama suit, kilt wearing leader of Louis Vuitton? HCX can’t wait to find out.