One of the most renowned fashion houses in the world is in a period of major transition: After 16 years as the creative director of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs recently stepped down to focus on taking his namesake company public. Just last week, Nicolas Ghesquière was named his successor.
While this is certainly an exciting time for all parties, followers of both Vuitton and Jacobs are anxious to know what changes are on the horizon. WWD's Bridget Foley sat down with Jacobs, who opened up about what lies ahead for his eponymous label.
In order to have an IPO, Jacobs is aware that he'll need to keep expanding his lines and create more products. When he name-checks designer labels that he most looks up to, he mentions mostly those founded by women. From Tory Burch's empire to Miuccia Prada's instincts and fearlessness, Jacobs says that female designers can create a way of dressing that comes more naturally to them than it does to men. He explains:
Throughout history, the best designers and the ones who have made the biggest difference and the longest-lasting difference in fashion are women. Miuccia Prada, Rei Kawakubo, Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli, Madame Grès, Chanel, Westwood. I remember years ago, Saint Laurent was talking about how he wanted to create a style because that’s what Chanel did. That’s what lasts. Not to create a fashion. A fashion is a trend.
Jacobs admits that much of this comes from the fact that female designers are essentially designing for themselves, while male designers are dressing the opposite sex. "Men can try to put themselves into that head, but they aren’t women... You can’t wear it, you can’t live it, you can’t understand why suddenly it feels good to wear a jacket with no shoulder pads that feels like a cardigan and has a pocket," he says.
With so many women making waves for starting their own labels today -- Rosie Assoulin, Katie Ermilio and Cushnie et Ochs to name just a few -- we're also glad that he addressed the fact that the most well-known designers at any given moment are men. "Why do people know the names of Saint Laurent, Dior, Balenciaga, and of course they know Chanel, but you’d have to be a fashion person to know Vionnet or Madame Grès or Schiaparelli," Jacobs said. We often wonder the same thing, and we're hoping that Jacobs isn't the only power player in the industry who feels this way and female designers continue to make their way into the spotlight.
Head on over to WWD for the full (and very interesting) interview.