Fashion Designer Marc Jacobs

For most of his life Marc Jacobs has wanted to be a fashion designer. He attended New York’s High School of Art and Design through 1981, and then went on to graduate from the Parsons School of Design. Jacobs, along with fellow Parsons Alumni Anna Sui, Steven Meisel, and Donna Karen, practiced their crafts and received their fist fashion awards at the prestigious design school. For Jacobs, this consisted of the Perry Ellis Gold Thimble Award, the Chester Weinberg Gold Thimble Award, and the Parson’s Award for Best Student of the Year (all in 1984). Then, after launching the first Marc Jacobs collection in 1986 with his partner Robert Duffy, Jacobs became the youngest designer to win the CFDA Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent.

However, even after receiving all of these awards, Jacobs hit a rough spot in his career. In 1993, the 35-year-old designer created the Grunge look. While we remember the style today as hip, trendy, and popular for teens and young adults in the early nineties, Grunge was not received well when it was first introduced. The original collection for Perry Ellis consisted of over-sized flannel shirts, slouched sweaters, and thick army boots partnered with floral vintage-looking dresses. Although fashion critics raved that the look broke new ground for women who wanted to be relaxed and free, consumers were unwilling to pay $1500 for an outfit that they could have found at a thrift store; Grunge was a commercial disaster and ended Jacobs’ collaboration with Perry Ellis. Nevertheless, the Grunge look had its impact, and Jacobs continues to regard it as his favorite line.



In 1994 Jacobs returned to the runway with sequined skirts, pants paired with red-and green-apple leather tops, sheer fur-sleeved t-shirts, and hooded tweed jackets. It was this collection that ultimately secured Jacobs the position of artistic director for the leather goods manufacturer Louis Vuitton. He then went to work on the first Louis Vuitton ready-to-wear collection and again stirred up some controversial opinions. The line, which included flat-front trousers, long skirts, and cotton coats in white, gray, pale blue, and raspberry, was considered too boring by the French press. However, the British newspaper The Guardian disagreed entirely calling the line “achingly hip.”

Jacobs still to works with Louis Vuitton and creates unique, evolving designs, which continue to win him awards and accolades. In just 1998 he won the CFDA Best Womenswear Designer Award again.