Marc Jacobs is an American fashion designer known for his own label and work as creative director at Louis Vuitton. He began in the industry as a teenager and has been making strides ever since, earning him numerous awards and admiration from critics. Jacobs is also known for pioneering the grunge trend that swept the 90s. For more about the “boy wonder” of the fashion world, here are the following facts:
1. His father’s death destabilized his childhood.
- Jacobs was born to a pair of talent agents for the William Morris Agency. His father passed away from ulcerative colitis when he was seven years-old.
- His mother had a string of failed marriages, each relationship relocating the family across the Northeast coast. Jacobs decided to live with his grandmother in Manhattan.
2. His grandmother gave him freedom to cultivate his talent.
- Well-educated and traveled, Jacobs’ grandmother had an eye for beauty and encouraged him to pursue fashion. She taught him how to knit.
- She also gave him the freedom of self-exploration during his adolescence. Jacobs took tap-dancing lessons, grew his hair long, and went to nightclubs.
3. He was a brilliant and hardworking student.
- After school, Jacobs worked as a stockboy for luxury clothing boutique Charivari. When he wasn’t performing his duties, he was designing sweaters for the store.
- He attended the Parsons School for Design where he was commended with Design Student of the Year and the Perry Ellis Gold Thimble. He sold his graduation project, a collection of large hand-knit sweaters, to Charivari.
4. His connection to Perry Ellis brought him to the international arena.
- Jacobs first met his mentor during his employment at Carivari. Jacobs was eventually named the vice president of women’s design.
- During this stay at the sportswear house, he released his critically acclaimed grunge collection. Despite tremendous success, the clothing line did not fit Perry Ellis’ conservative image, and Jacobs was shortly dismissed from his position.
5. Jacobs brought grunge street fashion to the runway.
- Inspired by the emerging pop culture movement, the bedraggled yet subtly chic style earned him the nickname “guru of grunge” and the Womenswear Designer of the Year award.
- The collection was worn by slender models, as opposed to the voluptuous and glamorous women who then dominated the runways.
6. He revolutionized Louis Vuitton.
- Jacobs was appointed creative director and made the brand a fashion powerhouse, quadrupling its gross revenue to $5 billion.
- From luggage, he expanded the company’s products to include accessories and ready-to-wear clothing. In exchange, he received financial support for his own label.
7. Jacobs struggled with alcohol and drug addiction.
- Despite his milestone achievements, the pressures at Louis Vuitton took a toll on his personal life. He checked into rehab in 1999 and again in 2007 after a relapse.
- Jacobs sought treatment due to urging from his friends, as well as Vogue editor Anna Wintour and model Naomi Campbell. After 16 fruitful years, Jacobs left Louis Vuitton to focus on his own label.
From childhood to professional life, Marc Jacobs’ story is filled with successes and struggles. His persistence and daring make him one of the most celebrated fashion icons in the world.