Is Marc Jacobs' reign at Louis Vuitton coming to an end?
Reuters is keeping the gossip going, speculating that the Louis Vuitton show at Paris Fashion Week may be Jacobs's last for the brand. An anonymous source told the news service that "his contract may not be renewed" AND according to French mag Challenges, the LVMH powers that be have already green-lit the designer's departure.
It's getting hard to keep track, but this Marc Jacobs-Louis Vuitton saga has been full of intrigue and speculation, with a few noteworthy occurrences that may provide clues to the outcome.
Under Jacobs's 16-year tenure, Louis Vuitton has raked in about $9.6 billion a year (making up over half of LVMH profits), but the brand is experiencing a slowdown as of late. Sales growth has declined to a 5 to 6 percent annual increase, as compared to decades of 10 percent.
Earlier this week, the conglomerate brought in Proenza Schouler and Balenciaga alum accessories designer Darren Spaziani to make Louis Vuitton leather goods even more luxury in a bid to increase sales. ("Hyper-Luxury" is the buzzword.) Although, back in June, Louis Vuitton brought in Delphine Arnault (dad is CEO Bernard) as deputy brand manager. She also happens to be close friends with Jacobs, which gives him extra incentive to stay with the brand.
But on the flip side, there may be bigger (and fortune-making) pastures out there for the designer. His own Marc Jacobs brand is believed to be worth close to $1 billion, so the call of a Michael Kors-esque IPO could be looming. Plus, Jacobs has expanded his already impressive brand portfolio to include a cosmetics line, so he has lots to keep him busy.
With the Louis Vuitton runway show coming up next week, some questions may be answered soon. Which brings the next round: Who would replace Jacobs? Nicholas Ghesquière? That is, if that nasty lawsuit isn't keeping him too busy.
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