Monday, Apr. 02, 2012

Marc Jacobs

These days Marc Jacobs' chiseled abs are plastered across advertisements and storefronts for his eponymous fashion line, but that wasn't always the case. It's hard to imagine, but Jacobs used to be a chubby, long-haired designer who preferred to lurk behind the scenes. In 1992, Jacobs was fired from his position of the head of women's wear at Perry Ellis for crafting a grunge collection out of very expensive silk shirts and cashmere. The heads at Perry Ellis may not have liked it, but with that collection Jacobs made a name for himself as a young, rebellious talent. Five years later, he was hired as the artistic director for Louis Vuitton. He would go on to quadruple the brand's business over the next 10 years while — along with Robert Duffy, his business partner since 1984 — growing the Marc Jacobs Collection and the more affordably priced Marc by Marc Jacobs lines into a fashion powerhouse. His clothes, handbags, perfumes and shoes transformed the luxury-goods market and, becoming status symbols, pioneered the concept of "it girl" cool. There was a time when every celebrity and socialite in America had to have either a quilted Jacobs bag or an LV monogramed bag flung over her shoulder, both of which came from the mind of this one man. And with his company's rise, his waistline declined to the point where he felt like claiming the spotlight and fame his creative genius had earned him. In a 2008 New Yorker profile he muses about "this sort of fairy-tale frog that became a prince," much like himself.