Through his eponymous label, and many other iconic ventures, Marc Jacobs has been shaping American fashion and beauty for over 30 years. Now, we take a look through his top 10 defining moments, from boundary pushing runway shows to the making of a cult fragrance.
Graduating from the esteemed Parsons School of Design in 1984 – where he won the Designer of the Year award – Marc Jacobs has gone on to become one of the most recognisable and distinguished names in fashion.
Jacobs debuted his first collection under the Marc Jacobs label, with partner Robert Duffy, in 1986 – and the rest is history. So, to celebrate his inspiring (and growing) portfolio, we look back through the years at his most memorable moments.
Introducing Marc by Marc Jacobs
Let’s start with the launch of diffusion line Marc by Marc Jacobs, which centred on accessibility and offered an essence of the brand without the high-fashion price tag. The line, which debuted in 2001, succeeded at attracting a younger audience, but it was dissolved in 2015 as the product range (and price points) were subsequently and inclusively merged with the signature Marc Jacobs label.
The aforementioned Marc by Marc Jacobs line harnessed the powers of social media in the best way possible. Turning his back on modelling agents and instead looking to Instagram and Twitter to find fresh new faces for the MbMJ FW14 campaign – the first with Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley at the helm – Jacobs’ groundbreaking #CastMeMark campaign attracted 70,000 entries from hopefuls.
The Return of an Era-Defining Icon
In 1992, at a time when fashion was still largely squarely defined, Jacobs debuted his SS93 ‘grunge’ collection while serving as creative director at Perry Ellis. The collection was met with overwhelming critique – Cathy Horyn, who retracted her statement decades later, called the collection “ridiculous,” declaring “grunge is anathema to fashion” – and Jacobs was let go from Perry Ellis shortly afterward. But in November 2018, Jacobs announced the resurgence of the iconic collection under the Marc Jacobs brand, with 26 looks from the original line replicated for a capsule collection named ‘Redux.’
The Stam Bag
Flashback to 2006 – Jacobs had designed a handbag for close friend Jessica Stam, a Canadian model (pictured below), who had allegedly complained that she was struggling to find a bag big enough to fit her modelling portfolio. The leather-quilted bag, which Jacobs aptly named ‘Stam’, would go on to become an icon. It was so popular in fact, that even the waiting lists for it had to be closed and it cemented its place in the it-bag hall of fame.
Beyond his services to fashion, Jacobs has also excelled in the art of perfumery. Although MJ Fragrances offers up a wide selection of divine scents, it’s cult favourite Daisy – and its beautiful flower motif cap – really put the Jacobs fragrance family on the map.
Marc Bares All
While we’re on the topic of fragrance, how could we not mention the time the creative himself appeared fully naked – with just a giant perfume bottle to cover his modesty – for the Marc Jacobs Bang fragrance campaign.
A Timeless Campaign
Marc Jacobs Beauty has seen the likes of Jessica Lange and Winona Ryder act as representatives of the brand, but the appointment of Adwoa Aboah as the face of Jacobs’ successful venture into the beauty industry served up a breathtakingly timeless 60’s campaign that blew us away.
That SS08 Show
The SS08 show is (in)famous for three reasons: it started two hours after scheduled, began with Jacobs taking his bow and featured all models walking the runway at once, showing the looks in opposite order.
It’s the story behind the SS03 campaign featuring Winona Ryder that makes it so iconic. When Ryder wore a Marc Jacobs dress to court after being charged with shoplifting $5560 worth of designer clothes (one item in fact being a $760 Marc Jacobs sweater), the designer thought she looked so beautiful in images from the trial that he asked her to feature in the upcoming Spring/Summer campaign.
The Marc Jacobs
Launched in May 2019, The Marc Jacobs is Jacobs’ newest venture – a contemporary fashion line focused on specific collaborations and items, rather than a complete ‘look’. A quote from Jacobs on the new collection reads: “We call it ‘the’ [Marc Jacobs] because we want to give each item a unique identity.” New York Magazine and Peanuts served as The Marc Jacobs’ first two collaborations, with the website stating that the line will boast “unique collaborations with artists and creators who inspire us.”
An iconic figure of fashion that no doubt will continue to be as loud, proud and rebellious for at least another thirty years. We’d love to hear about your favourite Marc Jacobs moments in the comments below.
Text: Jo Bentham
Images: Bella Newman / Teen Vogue, WordPress, Dazed, Business of Fashion, Pinterest, Fashionista, Stylist