All is not well chez Marc Jacobs. The LVMH-owned label is in the midst of a massive business overhaul. “Today, analysts estimate that the restructuring of the business could mean that it is currently worth half of what it was worth at its peak,” reports Business of Fashion. Like similarly troubled American fashion house J.Crew, the company may lose its creative force in the turnaround process.
According to BoF, “several sources close to the brand — including current and former employees — are saying that Jacobs may step back from his day-to-day design role or leave the business entirely.” It seems Jacobs was unhappy with the methods of former CEO Sebastian Suhl, who was brought on board in 2014 to help resuscitate the brand as he once did Givenchy.
Sources say that, for the past two years, Jacobs’ attendance has been all over the place — some weeks he is in the office every day, others he’s M.I.A. Some attribute this pattern to Jacobs’ creative process; others say it’s “more than that.” It is said that Suhl attempted to hire a creative leader under Jacobs who would take on some of the designer’s responsibilities and make his absences less productivity-paralyzing. This did not come to pass. (Draw your own conclusions.)
In May 2017, with business still flailing, Suhl exited Marc Jacobs and LVMH as a whole. Eric Marechalle, famous for weaning Kenzo off its dependence on fragrance sales and turning it into “a viable advanced contemporary label” led by Humberto Leon and Carol Lim’s creative vision, is the company’s new CEO. Sources say Jacobs is “encouraged” by Marechalle’s arrival and is already “actively building things back up” and working hard on the Spring 2018 collection.
Still, the future of the company remains unclear. During an April 2017 earnings call, LVHM CEO Jean-Jacques Guiony seemed optimistic: “The company, in my view, is making a big improvement in its product,” he said. “In the meantime, we have to reduce the cost base. There is no plan B. There is no plan C. It will take the time it takes to fix this business, which we think is a very promising business [that] has proven quite complicated to develop, but we are great believers of the future of Marc Jacobs.”
Needless to say, it’s close to impossible to imagine Marc Jacobs, NYFW closer, disappearing from the fashion landscape. It’s equally (if not more) difficult to picture the man himself — progenitor of high-fashion grunge, champion of runway diversity and major company shareholder — leaving behind his namesake brand.
[ via Business of Fashion ]