In the spring, Marc Jacobs introduced a black trucker cap that read, “Make America Marc Again.”
If only he could make it happen.
The talented but troubled designer’s fashion house — which unveils its spring 2018 line at the Armory Tuesday night — remains in the red after several strategy changes. And this summer, rumors have been swirling about Jacobs’ future at the company.
In late July, sources close to the brand told the Business of Fashion blog that Jacobs may be taking a step back from his day-to-day creative duties, or even leaving the label.
Though the 54-year-old designer shot down the report — telling WWD that “there is no truth” to the tales, and that he has “been in the office every day, night and weekend working away on [his spring 2018] collection/show” — speculation continues.
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After all, the company is clearly in turmoil: Jacobs’ devoted and longtime business partner Robert Duffy quietly departed in 2015, around the same time that the Marc by Marc Jacobs line was discontinued. CEO Sebastian Suhl abruptly exited in May, to be succeeded by former Kenzo chief Eric Marechalle.
Meanwhile, a number of Jacobs’ stores have shuttered, including all of his six Bleecker Street boutiques except one. And on the product front, it’s been a while since Jacobs landed a moneymaking It bag or shoe, despite largely positive show reviews.
“As designers move into their second and third decade, the constant struggle is how to maintain or recapture the excitement of newness,” Nicole Phelps, director of Vogue Runway, told The Post. “It’s really hard to hold onto that buzz.”
She believes that Jacobs has still got it, though. “Marc Jacobs is still the show for celebrities to be seen at and models to book in New York. He absolutely knows what’s happening and what’s cool.”
Phelps is horrified by the idea of a Marc-less Marc. So are other fashion insiders, who are rooting hard for him.
“Marc is the heart and soul of New York Fashion Week,” says Laura Brown, editor-in-chief of InStyle magazine, who featured him with LL Cool J and Salt-N-Pepa on one of her five subscriber-only September covers. “He’s a unique talent.”
Cathy Horyn, critic-at-large for New York magazine, agrees. “Last season was really brilliant and creative. He can reenergize the brand,” she says. “Marc is at an age where he may want to do something else with his life, but I hope he stays.”