After 16 years in a successful run Louis Vuitton’s artistic director, Marc Jacobs stepped down in 2013 to focus on his own label. But over the last two years, the LVMH-owned brand has been struggling to regain momentum and has meanwhile embarked on a profound restructuring.
Turn's out that turnaround is taking its time. LVMH chief financial officer Jean-Jacques Guiony admitted as much on Tuesday, during an analysts’ conference call. He said Marc Jacobs was “probably one of the few negative performances we have in the group."
The wobbly results come despite many recent changes at Marc Jacobs. After expanding and diversifying its lines (accessories, beauty, perfume, watches and children), the label has decided on a recentering. It has discontinued its affordable Marc by Marc Jacobs young line to concentrate on the main Marc Jacobs line, which it is building out to include entry-level and high-end price points. It also decided to pare down its own store network, closing the Marc Jacobs stores at the Palais-Royal in Paris, plus stores in Milan and London (South Audley Street and Mount Street).
And now comes the news that the label is officially also dropping its men’s line. The menswear range had already disappeared from the Marc Jacobs e-commerce site several months ago, and the brand chose not to stage a fall-winter 2017/18 men's show either. The brand announced Tuesday that it had indeed ended its license agreement with Staff International. The production company owned by OTB (Diesel) had been in charge of the Marc Jacobs men's line for eight years.
Still, the brand still boasts a great aura. Marc Jacobs was named the best women's fashion designer of 2016 at the CFDA Fashion Awards. The designer has a strong following, especially in the U.S, admired for his rebellious spirit and exuberant style.
In a press release on its first quarter results, LVMH said the New York designer's brand will “continue its product line changes and its restructuring.”
“The company, in my view, is making a big improvement in its product,” CFO Jean-Jacques Guiony told WWD. “What they do, what they have been doing over the last season or two seasons is much better than before, particularly on the handbag business. Obviously, this takes a little bit of time to pay off, but we are extremely confident and in the meantime, we have to reduce the cost base. [...]”
“And it will take the time it takes to fix this business,” he continued, “which we think is a very promising business [that] has proven quite complicated to develop, but we are great believers of the future of Marc Jacobs.”
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