Marc Jacobs: An Iconic History -

Marc Jacobs: An Iconic History

From Shop Boy to High-End Fashion and Designer Watches

Ask any fashion-focused individual to name some of the most iconic designers of all time, and chances are Marc Jacobs will be one of the first names out of their mouth. You see, the New York native has spent over 40 years in the global fashion industry, working both for his own label and for internationally renowned fashion house Louis Vuitton, where he spent a total of 16 years as their Creative Director.

Over these four-plus decades, the name Marc Jacobs has become synonymous with womenswear, designer menswear, a children’s wear range called Little Marc Jacobs, contemporary handbags, beauty, and of course, designer watches for men and women.

But fashion life wasn’t always so lucrative for the 59-year-old US designer. 

1970s Manhattan

Picture the scene: it’s 1978 New York. The large billboards that line the buildings of Times Square convey messages to ‘Buy Zenith Chromacolor’ and look at busty girls to a backdrop of grey-yellow smoggy skies. Not so far across the city, a small, non-observant Jewish kid from Manhattan walks into one of the now defunct upscale boutiques, Charivari, asking for a job. Any job. He claims he wouldn’t even need to be paid; he’s just happy to be there. This is the beginning of Marc Jacobs's foray into fashion.

The Guru of Grunge

In the early 90s, some 14 years later, that skinny boy, now a graduate of Parsons School of Design, was to become the epitome of New York cool. The man who took a young Kate Moss, a feline-eyed girl with jutting hip bones below waif-thin waist visible — the antithesis of the usual girls adorning Vogue magazine — and dressed her in clothing that he himself described as ‘not sexy, never sexy.’

By this time, he already had a small group of collections behind him under his own label, Marc Jacobs, including a line of hand-knitted sweaters. With this 1992 clothing range, he created fashion aimed squarely at and inspired by outsiders on the fringe of society, and reinvented himself as the ‘Guru of Grunge.’ 

His grunge style angered Perry Ellis, his employer at the time, for being so forward-thinking, leading to his swift 1992 departure from the brand, who were keen to maintain a clean-cut image despite Marc Jacobs’ accolade as CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year for the same collection. 

The decision to oust him from his position of President of Perry Ellis in 1992 led him to form a solid long-term working partnership with Robert Duffy, forming Jacobs Duffy Designs Inc. 

Louis Vuitton and Beyond

While Jacobs’ own brands were doing well, with him and Duffy launching their first high-street store in New York’s Soho, 1997 saw him take on work for the major Paris fashion house Louis Vuitton, where he worked as their creative director alongside his self-titled labels. 

His role at Louis Vuitton saw Jacobs launch their first ‘ready to wear’ range, bringing Louis Vuitton’s name into the collective dictionary of day-to-day fashionistas, rather than being reserved for the rich and famous only. 

Vuitton’s star skyrocketed overnight, and thanks to Jacobs’ incredible success, he and they collaborated with stars such as Kanye West, and designer Stephen Sprouse and in commercial successes with artists Richard Prince and Takashi Murakami before his departure in 2014.

Marc Jacobs’s Own Lines

While working with Louis Vuitton was fun, 2013 saw him focus on his own lines, namely his Spring/Summer collection which saw Miley Cyrus spearhead his campaign. For many years, however, the brand has been diversifying into many other fashion categories. 

In 2001, Marc Jacobs launched its secondary line, Marc by Marc Jacobs. This long-running line offered those lower-priced items to fans of his global brand and ran successfully until 2015 when it was folded in order for the company to focus on its main label. This surprised many in the fashion circles who were concerned that the Marc Jacobs name would lose traction among lower-budget fashion-conscious buyers. 

The naysayers needn’t have worried. The Marc Jacobs Beauty brand was relaunched in 2014 with Jessica Lange as the face of the cosmetics products. Fragrances were also very popular sellers, having been a pivotal market for the business since 2001. 

Marc Jacobs Watches, Eau de Toilettes, and Handbags

In 2007, Daisy Marc Jacobs, an eau de toilette created by perfumier Alberto Morillas which embodies the ‘cottagecore’ trend with its berry, jasmine, and violet scent, was launched with great celebration. 

This was followed by many variants of the popular Daisy perfume each with their own distinctive fragrance, as well as the ever-popular Marc Jacobs Decadence with its luxurious woody polysexual scent which was launched in 2008.

But it is Marc Jacobs watches and contemporary handbags that get most casual fans hot under the collar. Marc Jacobs tote bags are an ever-popular holiday gift purchase. Then there is the Marc Jacobs belt bag, which is a modern version of a fanny pack in a range of leather and fabric options. 

Affordable Marc Jacobs watches start as low as $90 on the high street, and come in a range of colors and strap options — from rose gold, silver, and brushed gold varieties with etched or gem-embedded faces to leather-strapped women’s watches in navy, black, and white, you’re sure to find an option that appeals to your tastes. 

Marc Jacobs: Style That Endures

With his classic style that has been developed over four decades clothing and wrist wear with a contemporary edge, we’re sure that Marc Jacobs will be headlining the fashion world for many years to come. The only question for us is which of his amazing products will we choose from in our store? 

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