Marc Jacobs is an American fashion designer. He is the head designer for his own fashion label, Marc Jacobs, and formerly Marc by Marc Jacobs, a diffusion line, which was produced for approximately 15 years having been discontinued after the 2015 fall/winter collection. At one point there were over 200 retail stores in 80 countries. He was the creative director of the French design house Louis Vuitton from 1997 to 2014. Jacobs was on Time magazine’s “2010 Time 100” list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and was #14 on Out magazine’s 2012 list of “50 Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America”. He got married on 7 April 2019, to his long-time boyfriend Charly Defrancesco.
Marc Early Life
Fashion Designer. Born April 9, 1963, in New York City. Jacobs’ home life was turned upside-down at the age of 7, when his father died from ulcerative colitis—a condition that Marc also suffered from. According to Jacobs, his mother responded poorly to his father’s death, embarking on a life of power dating and failed marriages that caused serious upheaval in the family. With each remarriage, Jacobs and his siblings would be forced to relocate to a new home, bouncing from New Jersey to Long Island and then the Bronx.
Feeling alienated from his mother and siblings, Jacobs moved in with his paternal grandmother on the Upper West Side of Manhattan when he was still a teenager. It was while living with his grandmother that Jacobs truly felt at home; well-traveled and educated, her love of aesthetically beautiful things and her appreciation for Jacobs’ creative designs helped the grandmother and grandson forge a close relationship. “I always say I lived my life with my grandmother,” Jacobs says. “She was emotionally stable, and she was very encouraging to me.” Jacobs’ grandmother also allowed Jacobs to enjoy permissive adolescence full of self-exploration. “No one ever said ‘no’ to me about anything,” he said. “No one ever told me anything was wrong. Never. No one ever said, ‘You can’t be a fashion designer.’ No one ever said, ‘You’re a boy and you can’t take tap-dancing lessons.’ No one ever said, ‘You’re a boy and you can’t have long hair.’ No one ever said, ‘You can’t go out at night because you’re 15 and 15-year-olds don’t go to nightclubs.’ No one said it was wrong to be gay or right to be straight.”
Jacobs Fashion Prodigy
Yet, for all his freedoms, Jacobs stayed focused on his dreams of becoming an important designer. By the age of 15, he was attending the High School of Art and Design during the day and, after school, working at the upscale clothing boutique Charivari. The staff of Charivari allowed their young stockboy to design sweaters for the store in between his tasks of folding clothes and dressing mannequins. The work helped Jacobs land a spot at the coveted Parsons School for Design, where he stood out among his classmates by winning both the Perry Ellis Gold Thimble Award and Design Student of the Year at graduation in 1984. Just after graduating, at the age of 21, he designed his first collection for the label Sketchbook for Reuben Thomas. He cited the visually rich films Amadeus and Purple Rain his inspirations for the line. In 1987, he became the youngest designer ever to win the Council of Fashion Designers of America Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent.
Jacobs took over as the womenswear designer for Perry Ellis, where he won the prestigious 1992 CFDA prize for Womenswear Designer of the Year (an award he would win again in 1997). In 1993, after Perry Ellis shuttered its manufacturing operations—and after Jacobs sent out a “grunge” collection for the label that critics loved but the company hated—Jacobs struck out on his own. With financial backing from his former bosses, he started his own company with longtime business partner Robert Duffy. The Marc Jacobs label soon proved a success.
Marc Jacobs Struggles and Success
In 1997, Jacobs was named creative director of the Louis Vuitton house of luxury goods in Paris. The job was a professional triumph, but it brought new pressures that threw Jacobs’s personal life into a tailspin. He began a period of heavy drug use, with near-nightly binges of cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. “It’s a cliché,” Jacobs later said of his addiction, “but when I drank I was taller, funnier, smarter, cooler.” Friends, including model Naomi Campbell and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, persuaded Jacobs to seek help. He checked into rehab in 1999.
After getting clean, Jacobs threw himself back into his work, launching Louis Vuitton’s first ready-to-wear line while expanding his own label. His three Marc Jacobs collections—two for adults and one for children—are sold at dozens of Marc Jacobs boutiques worldwide. He has also licensed his name to perfumes and accessories. The Council of Fashion Designers of America named him the Menswear Designer of the Year in 2002, and Accessories Designer of the Year in 1998/99, 2003 and 2005.
In January 2010, Jacobs married boyfriend Lorenzo Martone, a Brazilian PR executive, at a friend’s home in St. Barts in the French West Indies. Years after his debut as the “boy wonder” of the fashion world, Jacobs’ work continues to turn heads. “For some reason, Marc’s show is always the most important place to be seen,” one fan said, “the one place where you know all the people who matter will be.”
Ten years of the Marc by Marc Jacobs line
To celebrate ten years of the Marc by Marc Jacobs line, in 2011 introduces Greatest Hits, a capsule collection of its best-selling pieces. In February, Marc collaborates with Playboy on three limited-edition tees sporting variations of its iconic bunny motif; 100 percent of profits benefit Designers Against AIDS.
Marc Jacobs designs a limited-edition T-shirt in support of marriage equality efforts by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil-rights organization. “I pay my taxes, I want my RIGHTS!” the shirt reads.
Marc Jacobs Quotes
[epq-quote align=”align-left”]I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect – they are much more interesting.[/epq-quote]
[epq-quote align=”align-left”]I remember walking the dog one day, I saw a car full of teenage girls, and one of them rolled down the window and yelled, ‘Marc Jacobs!’ in a French accent.[/epq-quote]
[epq-quote align=”align-left”]I wouldn’t know how to find eBay on the computer if my life depended on it.[/epq-quote]
[epq-quote align=”align-left”]It’s quite nice to see that I didn’t have to change who I was to reach two very different types of people.[/epq-quote]