U.S. designer Marc Jacobs is leaving Louis Vuitton as artistic director, a source close to the French fashion brand's parent LVMH, the world's biggest luxury group, said on Wednesday (October 2).
The latest Louis Vuitton collection was shown at Paris fashion week on Wednesday morning at the capital's famous Louvre museum, and the rumour of Jacobs' departure flooded social media sites.
The source told Reuters the designer was leaving Vuitton to focus on his own brand. The Marc Jacobs fashion brand, which is controlled by LVMH, is one of the fastest growing labels within the French group's fashion and leather goods division.
Jacobs shot to fame in the Nineties by bringing grunge into the fashion foray for New York label Perry Ellis, known more for its well-heeled and conservative creations. Jacobs also has his own eponymous label and a diffusion line Marc for Marc Jacobs. He joined Louis Vuitton in 1997 as Artistic Director.
Louis Vuitton has metamorphosed from its humble origins as a French trunks maker in 1854 to one of the most profitable and prestigious brands in the world.
It is owned by the world's largest luxury group, the French multinational luxury goods conglomerate Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), whose portfolio includes other high-end fashion brands such as Celine, Givenchy and Kenzo, and fine wines and spirits like Dom Perignon.
At the brand's Pret-a-Porter show in March 2012, the year celebrating the 15th anniversary of the label with Jacobs at the helm, Vuitton's CEO Yves Carcelle said that Jacobs re-injected a sense of creativity into the house in 1997.
"His role goes much beyond being the artistic director of the Ready-To-Wear show, but the fact that himself, has always the reference of the past, the respect of the history," Carcelle said.
"Marc when he arrived in '97 gave a new energy to the creativity of the house, and I think for anyone working at Louis Vuitton, crossing Marc, in his strange outfits whatever time of the day or night, probably gives another additional will to be creative, innovative and I think that has been the catalyst of the creativity of the house," he added.
Under Jacobs' creative direction, Louis Vuitton has quickly become one of the hot ticket events of the Paris Fashion Week calendar. Showgoers can always expect to be wowed not simply by the sartorial creations, but by the equally-impressive and imaginative show setting. In recent years, Vuitton runways have featured a real, functioning train, escalators, a hotel floor or elevators.
Looking ahead, names in the hat to replace Marc Jacobs include that of Nicolas Ghesquiere, a darling of fashion editors, who left Balenciaga last year after having successfully infused new life into the Kering fashion brand.
Ghesquiere is regarded as close to Delphine Arnault, Louis Vuitton's deputy chief executive and one of LVMH's main talent-spotters. She is also the eldest child of Bernard Arnault, founder and chief executive of LVMH and France's richest man.