Marc Jacobs - the man and the brand - has been plagued with an influx of rumors over the past few weeks. First there was the discussion of whether Jacobs would stay on board at his eponymous label in light of the recent announcement that Eric Marechalle, the former chief executive officer of Kenzo, will take over as CEO, replacing current incumbent Sebastian Suhl. Even more recently, there was talk of the brand cancelling its Spring/Summer 2018 show, which is slated to close September’s New York Fashion Week.
While representatives for Marc Jacobs and its parent company LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton initially refused to comment on Business of Fashion’s reports that Mr. Jacobs’ future with his brand was in question, Jacobs has since “told WWD definitively that ‘there is no truth’ to speculation that he may exit his company, or that his Spring 2018 show, on the New Work Fashion Week calendar for Sept. 13 at 6 p.m., will be canceled.”
“We’re all hard at work on the collection and the preparation for our show in September,” Jacobs told WWD on Friday. “That’s really all I have to say on that.” As for the rumors themselves, Jacobs acknowledged that they are “upsetting and stressful” to his staff.
He further noted, “I have been in the office every day, night and weekend working away on the collection/show. I don’t know what else to say or do but carry on working as usual.”
As for what sparked such rumors, exactly, that is currently unclear. (Although it is worth noting that since Business of Fashion is owned in part by LVMH, which also owns Marc Jacobs, it is surprising that they would get this one wrong. And there is, of course, a chance that they did not get it wrong at all - only time will tell).
What holds true regardless of the source and accuracy of such claims is fashion's penchant for dramatics, which is almost certainly at play here, at least a little, tiny bit. And that is nothing new. As Charlotte Cowles very appropriately wrote for New York Magazine’s blog, The Cut, in September 2012 on the eve of Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane's first ready-to-wear shows for Christian Dior and Saint Laurent: “Because clothes themselves don't always make for particularly satisfying gossip fodder, the fashion world has decided to add some personal drama to their stories."
Cowles went on to write, "Surely, instead of spending day and night in their studios and slaving over every detail for the widely anticipated, incredibly pivotal collections they must show next week, Simons and Slimane are plotting each others' downfalls.”
While Paul Deneve, then-President and CEO of Saint Laurent, did not appreciate the media's treatment of the whole thing, he rather aptly noted that the many articles at the time - with titles that included, "Raf Simons Vs. Hedi Slimane: A Closer Look," "Battle of the Champions," and "Paris Match: Hedi vs. Raf," just to name a few - turned Simons' and Slimane's respective debuts into "a banal rivalry." Complete with a ton of web traffic, of course.
What is particularly interesting is that both Deneve and Cowles were undoubtedly onto something. The world loves a good rumor, a good reality television moment, hence, the meteoric rise of that specific medium of television to begin with. Fashion is in no way immune to that phenomenon, and in this industry, such gossip comes in the form of whispers of the latest big-name move in the unending game of musical chairs, or speculations as to what brand is opting out of a runway show and why, or talk of the inside scoop on a budding rivalry between creative directors.
These types of articles garner clicks - and a lot of them, because who needs to limit themselves to keeping up with the Kardashians if they can also stay busy keeping up with the fashion industry? (Anything to avoid thinking about the epic downfall of the U.S. thanks to the Trump administration).
So, now, four years later, with Raf Simons firmly situated at Calvin Klein and Hedi Slimane on hiatus in Los Angeles, that desire for grape-vine-esque thrills is still alive and well. It is just that this go-round, Marc Jacobs is the center of attention.