Marc Jacobs merges apparel lines, plans store remodels

Marc Jacobs has seen some big changes in the last few years. In the latest announcement, issued last week, the company said it would cease production of the Marc by Marc Jacobs label, assimilate products into the designer's signature collection and refocus on retail stores.

Major control over the company has also changed hands in the last few years, reported Women's Wear Daily. LVMH now has controlling interest of Marc Jacobs, which is estimated to be around 80 percent, with Marc Jacobs himself and Robert Duffy owning the other 20 percent of the company.

Duffy's diminished activity in the company has also presented another significant wave of changes. The partnership between Jacobs and Duffy is now in its 32nd year, but Duffy has stepped back from the day-to-day operations of the company following the hiring of Sebastian Suhl as CEO last fall—all in preparation for a possible IPO.

Jacobs said that while the Marc by Marc Jacobs label has been dismantled to return distinction to the main brand, the idea remains: fashion at different price points.

"We've gone through many different ways of looking at what [the brand] was initially and how it had gotten away from that, and I think again we're back to that same thing," Jacobs told Women's Wear Daily. "The way to do it is that this is under one label."

Combining the labels does not mean a decrease in product diversity. The company plans to increase offerings and bulk up its design staff. While Jacobs himself spends most of his time working on the higher end of the fashion range, the new approach of a broader spectrum means he will work more closely with merchandisers.

The designer also said that retail will be an immediate focus, as he plans to redesign stores and showrooms. He is taking a lot of time to think about the interiors, furniture and art that will go into the look of the stores moving forward.

Marc Jacobs joins other fashion designers looking to combine more casual offerings with traditional luxury brand names in order to gain new customers at different price points. For example, the women behind Juicy Couture recently announced the launch of an e-commerce site for their latest line, Pam & Gela, which features "casual luxury" styles.

For more:
-See this Women's Wear Daily article (subscription)

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