It has been confirmed that Marc Jacobs secondary or diffusion line, Marc by Marc Jacobs is to be discontinued and the collection will be absorbed into the primary Marc Jacobs line.
Rumors have swirled since before the New York collections about possible changes at Marc Jacobs and now, those changes are coming into reality.
The label was first launched in 2000 with a wider range of products all at more accessible price points then the pricier mainline. Marc by Marc Jacobs is still said to be a significant contributor to turnover reportedly making up almost 50%. CEO Sebastian Suhl told WWD – Womenswear Daily that there is a big opportunity for the new single label business at the “core price range” of Marc by Marc and also a lot of scope in the space where Marc by Marc prices finished before entry prices to mainline started.
In a statement to WWD, Jacobs commented on the closure:
“In a sense, we’re starting at the beginning. We believed that fashion could exist at lots of different prices. It could be flip-flops for $30, a well-priced T-shirt; there could be an honesty and integrity in different types of clothes. It wasn’t supposed to be a second line or the poor-relative-of”, and he continues “I want to make incredible fashion. I want to figure out a way to make that incredible fashion available to people on different levels . It just feels like we aren’t doing that job by showing two different collections with two different messages.”
Sources said the newly expanded, single-label Marc Jacobs brand will encompass a range of merchandise and price points currently divided between the two lines, from luxury to contemporary. The point is not to lessen the product range, but to unify all products with a clarity of voice and aesthetic, and ultimately, to expand the product offerings, an initiative in development at least since October 2013, when Jacobs left Louis Vuitton to focus fully on his own brand, including a possible IPO.
At that time, LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault told WWD, “The first step is to put in place the organization, and to complete the business plan, which requires retail organization, retail investment and more products. These steps have already started. This will take time, maybe two or three years, to be completely in place.”
Dealing with staffing, many points are still unclear. Marc by Marc Jacobs is designed by creative director Katie Hillier and women’s design director Luella Bartley, both appointed in May 2013. Hillier’s history with the brand and with LVMH predates that appointment; she worked with Marc by Marc Jacobs in various freelance capacities and elsewhere within the group for the previous 10 years and remains highly thought of within the company. She is actually expected to stay on in some capacity, and there is new news on the role of Luella Bartley who held the role of Design Director.
Also unclear is how the brand’s current stores, particularly those in clusters on Bleecker Street in New York’s West Village and on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, will be impacted. In 2013, Arnault cited the need to bolster the brand’s overall retail presence. “It’s why we have to invest in the product, because retail means some investment,” he said. “Whether we buy some buildings or rent some buildings, it’s a substantial investment.…To fill the stores, especially if the stores are larger, we need more products. It’s very simple.…” Arnault added. Jacobs and Sebastian Suhl, who took over as chief executive officer of Marc Jacobs in September, could not be reached for comment at press time.
A similar move was made by Dolce & Gabbana in 2011 when it discontinued its D&G label, incorporating it into the mainline.
Who will be next?