A couple of weeks ago, a Brazilian website by the name of Glamurama reported that Marc Jacobs was in talks to take over John Galliano‘s empty seat at Dior. The fact that the story was unsourced (and the fact that the website features a mouse trail of rainbow pixels) gave us pause, but that didn’t prevent it from getting picked up. Today, Women’s Wear Daily weighs in with a much more thoroughly reported take on the story — and all of a sudden a Jacobs-helmed house of Dior is looking a lot more likely.
According to WWD’s (unnamed) sources, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault is looking at ending Jacobs’ 14-year tenure at Louis Vuitton and instead handing him the reigns of the conglomerate’s most storied house.
One source cautioned that a deal with Jacobs is not assured, but that the American designer and Dior management are so far “excited” about the prospect.
Meetings are scheduled to take place in Paris this week between Dior officials and legal representatives for Jacobs, who is currently in New York preparing for his signature fashion show there.
Dior declined to comment. Jacobs could not immediately be reached for comment.
The move would set in motion a game of designer musical chairs, as Arnault apparently hopes to replace Jacobs’ with Celine star Phoebe Philo.
While I have my own issues with Jacobs, namely his over-reliance on reinterpretation, his commercial appeal and editorial success cannot be overstated. And in terms of star-power, branding, and economics, Jacobs may well be the perfect fit for Dior, particularly if Arnault is weighing the bottom line more than the hemline. But Dior’s legacy of couture is where Jacobs’ fit starts to falter. The man knows how to move clothing, but does he have the technical skills needed to oversee two additional couture collections — and at one of the Chambre Syndicale’s most prominent houses? No, probably not, but that’s what Dior’s team of couturiers is there for: All Jacobs needs is the vision.
As for Philo taking over Louis Vuitton, well, that seems almost like a no-brainer. Jacobs was hired in 1997 to essentially create Ready To Wear for a brand known for luxury leather goods and trunks, and while his collections brought no shortage of press and attention to the line, the clothes haven’t exactly taken off — at least not in the same way as, say, Gucci, for whom RTW is an almost equally new reinvention. Jacobs’ Louis Vuitton collections make for great runway shows, but Philo’s minimalist take at Celine could do wonders for the wearability of LVMH’s flagship brand. That said, we’re not sure we’ll ever want a Louis Vuitton bag as much as we want a Celine one. Sorry, but it’s true.
In any case, WWD also reports that Alber Elbaz and Nicholas Ghesquière have both removed themselves from the running, that talks with Haider Ackermann and Hedi Slimane didn’t get very far, and that McQueen’s Sarah Burton “rebuffed overtures” altogether. Which leaves only Givenchy‘s Riccardo Tisci as Jacobs’ competition. Tisci could run couture circles around Jacobs, though he’s had nowhere near the man’s commercial success, which is why, ultimately, this decision comes down to what Arnault wants for Dior. And if you ask us, like any successful multi-billionaire luxury CEO, he’s looking at the bottom line. And for that, Jacobs will probably be his man.
Marc Jacobs to Dior? Talks Get Serious [WWD, Sub. Req'd.]