JASON JOBSON

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Saturday
Jan112014

MARC JACOBS BILLION DOLLAR DECISION

MARC JACOBS PH: REUTERSMarc Jacobs certainly took center stage late last year with his sudden departure from the house of Louis Vuitton.   While Jacobs and LVMH said it was a mutual decision as Jacobs would prepare his namesake label for a public offering, there were loud rumors that the decision had been made by Bernard Arnault (Chairman & CEO of LVMH) himself.  Hoping, as the rumor goes, that a new creative director would bring a newfound direction for this massive fashion brand that was feeling less than exciting in the last few seasons.   Jacobs certainly is no stranger to headlines, attention, and dramatic decisions - so who left who? - who can say.  It is certain that Marc Jacobs became a celebrity around the world after taking the helm of the fabled house of LV in 1997 as LVMH purchased a majority stake in Jacobs own brand.  This sleepy legend of monogram travel bags would become the biggest logo brand in the world under Jacobs direction.  Who would have ever guessed one hundred years ago that resin coated vinyl would come to represent the world of luxury handbags?  Truth is stranger than fiction.   While Jacobs became rich and famous via LV, his namesake label would become known more for the quirky accessories of his lower price line - Marc Marc Jacobs, often made from plastic, and too often made in China.   MARC JACOBS "CHECKERS" BAG - $1,550.00 AT BERGDORF GOODMANLines would form down the block from Jacobs's boutiques, with young girls desperate to get their hands on rubber boots, plastic lipstick pens, and tote bags plastered with Marc, Marc Jacobs in every color of the rainbow.   (T-shirts and beach towels also became hot items for the fashion flock picking up 5 and 10 at a time leading up to Summer and Winter holidays).

Now, with more time on his hands the Marc Jacobs label could get the much needed attention it deserves.  It is one of the coolest brands around, but hardly garners the attention at retail that the "it" girl following, the ultra hip ad campaign, and the global network of stores would normally guarantee.  Before LVMH came into his life, Jacobs and business partner Robert Duffy were carving out a name for the designer as one of the few American luxury brands.  In the late 90's his handbags would sell out of Bergdorf Goodman faster than they could be produced by talented artisans in Italy.  Once LV was in the picture, things changed.  Of course, it all makes sense.  Louis Vuitton was more than a side job or freelance gig for Jacobs.  The number of collections, campaigns, and contractual responsibilities that comes with running a global luxury brand would create a challenge for anyone to multi-task.  After all, Karl Lagerfeld himself has been challenged in making his namesake brand a retail success.  MARC MARC JACOBS PEN, PENCIL, AND HEART COMPACT AT BOOKMARCThe Lagerfeld label has had more re-launches (and flops) than the Friday the 13th movie franchise.. but with much less profit to show for it - but maybe as much bloodshed.. (I knew people who gave us great jobs to work at Lagerfeld only to be fired a few months later when He and Tommy Hilfiger pulled the plug.  (Hilfiger had signed a deal with Karl to distribute Lagerfeld in the U.S. - I know.. REALLY?).   Karl also famously bought back his label for 1 French Franc in the late 90's after it failed to turn a profit.

The departure of Jacobs from Louis Vuitton also occurred in the shadow of the biggest news maker of all the American Designers.  Or course I'm talking about the unprecedented and unpredictable success of Mr. Michael Kors.   Since going public in late 2011, Kors company went from just another American brand with fabrics that were quality questionable, to a multi-billion dollar global empire selling "ode to Rolex" watches and "ode to Chanel" handbags.  With a deep pocketed financing plan similar to that of Tommy Hilfiger, overnight Kors became THE accessory to have for every working girl from San Francisco to Sri Lanka. MR. MICHAEL KORS - THE LIFE OF ANY PARTY - PH: GETTY IMAGES Today, with just over two years as a public company, Kors business has an estimated value of $15 Billion Dollars.  Staggering!! 

Both Kors and Jacobs are from New York, (Jacobs born in the City and raised in New Jersey, Kors born and raised on Long Island)  but the two are cut from very different clothes.   THE ROLEX DOPPELGANGER BY MICHAEL KORS AT MACYSMichael Kors is loved by all and is instantly likable.  You would be hard pressed to find anyone with bad things to say about Kors who is always the life of the party - wherever he goes.  Michael loves the retail business and has spent an endless about of time in the stores at his trunk shows over the years. (too often a rarity these days).   Whether he is in a store, In the critic's chair on Project Runway, or on-line on Sunday mornings buying the New York Times off the boat ferry at his Summer house at the beach- Kors is that same likable guy.   Marc Jacobs is not that guy.   Marc is the prince with the Prada bag and matching coat that you just want to pinch-hard.   While Kors surrounds himself with peers his own age, leading ladies of Hollywood, and former and current heads of state, Jacobs is more likely to be hanging out (or dating) guys half his age on a beach in Rio or Miami.   The two personalities are like night and day.

Of course Michael Kors did not become a billionaire overnight.  ONE OF THE "OH SO PROFITABLE" MICHAEL KORS TOTES The designer worked year after year, re-launched again and again, all the while dressing key Hollywood celebrities.  Kors was also the creative director of French fashion house Celine from 1997 to 2004 - the first ever Creative Director of women's RTW for the fabled French House.   Still, it did not make him a household name.  It wasn't until Michael was wooed by reality TV and joined the cringe worthy Heidi Klum and her Project (of doom) Runway that fame came calling.   (It's a sad commentary to note that in order to get the attention of serious financial investors, Kors had to first do the most pedestrian project around).   Even in a medium way beneath his talents -reality schlock- Kors Shined.   His one-liner critiques could destroy a contestant, but make them leave smiling.  His comments were funny and biting, but not destructive or mean.   One of the best was his reaction to a dress with a messy train.. " She looks like she's pooping fabric"...it said it all.. and who could hate that guy?   

Bravo to Michael Kors for all his success, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.  I just wish to become super rich he could have run a business more like Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel and less like Tommy Hilfiger  at (the hot mess of a Ralph Lauren knock off label that is) Hilfiger.   But who can blame Kors?  Many public companies related to fashion or not have followed the same formula.  Moving production to China and promoting questionable quality accessories as "Luxury" is unfortunately nothing new these days.

MARC JACOBS & MICHAEL KORS SHOW OFF THEIR CFDA AWARKS IN 2010 However, there is one big difference between Marc Jacobs as he reportedly prepares to go public and Michael Kors when he did the same.  Marc Jacobs is already a very rich man and has run one of the biggest luxury brands in the world.  Kors on the other hand was not rich beyond his wildest dreams, and had not run a European luxury house when investors came calling.  Marc Jacobs doesn't need the money or the prestige.  Of course he wants the money - who doesn't, but he doesn't need to follow the typical formula if he doesn't want to.  

I think Marc Jacobs dreams of taking over the tweed at CHANEL the day Karl retires.  Jacobs references the collection season after season after season... it's hardly subtle.    Waiting for Karl to leave however might require quite a bit of patience.  Lagerfeld is the most powerful over 80 year old in the world - why would he retire?  Fashion is clearly his life.

So, all eyes are on Marc Jacobs.   I'm crossing my fingers he'll give us luxury like we haven't seen before from an American designer.  The world doesn't need another brand of "stuff" with logos on it - don't you think?   The CFDA could use a world famous designer of true luxury goods based in NYC.   After all, Tom Ford is hardly a New Yorker!

CLICK IMAGES TO LEARN MORE - IF YOU MUST.

Monday
Jan062014

MY POP ART CAN MEAN ANYTHING - SPRING 2014!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  So far, 2014 has most Americans bundled up like Eskimos as the temperatures have dipped so far below zero - the weather is breaking records!  If you are CHRISTIAN DIOR BY RAF SIMONS - WHAT'S HIS MESSAGE?reading this with a shiver in your step and a scarf around your neck - I thought I'd focus on something to warm us all up - SPRING FASHION! Spring 2014 to be exact...

JEFF KOONS VISION OF LADY GAGA - ARTPOP COVERMajor design houses from Paris and Milan looked to the world of Modern Art for inspiration for Spring 2014.  In America the most creative "designer" creating a collection for Spring in my book is Lady Gaga.   This singer, songwriter, and visual artist collaborated with Jeff Koons, the most commercial artist of our time to create her latest album - ARTPOP.   In Paris, Karl Lagerfeld at CHANEL staged his Spring runway as an art gallery and Raf Simons at Christian Dior sent messengers down the runway ala graffiti art.. both were the trend-setters.   In Milan, Massimiliano Giornetti at Salvatore Ferragamo was one step ahead of the French as his pre-collection referenced Modern Art Minimalism CHANEL SPRING 2014 - FASHION IS ART - OR IS IT?with color blocked RTW, Accessories, and Shoes.   Ferragamo took it to another level by SALVATORE FERRAGAMO - RESORT 2014 - AMERICANA MANHASSETsponsoring the inaugural gala for the Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills.  The "Wallis" is the biggest performing art project the West Coast will see for a generation.  Bravo to Ferragamo for their forward thinking!

All of these collections embraced color for Spring and gave us something creative and new - what a concept - this is fashion!  Click images to learn / see more.

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday
Nov132013

2013 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

  

 

LEFT TO RIGHT / TOP TO BOTTOM

SALVATORE FERRAGAMO - LIMITED EDITION, LARGE SOFIA ALLIGATOR HANDBAG - $27,000.00 - Made In Italy

ANDIE'S SPECIALTY SWEETS - HANDMADE "BUTTONS" SET OF 50 - $42.50 - Made in Dallas, Tx - USA

AHEIRLOOM - "NEW YORK STATE"  BAMBOO CUTTING BOARD - $48.00 - Made in Brooklyn, NY - USA

CHRISTOPHE POURNY - ORGANIC SHOE CARE KIT - $55.00- Made in Brooklyn, NY - USA

VALENTINO - BLACK AND WHITE SPECATATOR PUMP - $995.00 - Made in Italy

n+a - 14K YELLOW GOLD WITH FRESH WATER PEARL EARRINGS - $345.00 - Made in Tribeca, NY - USA

SANDRA DAVOLIO - PORCELAIN VESSEL - IN THE USA AT J.LOHMANN GALLERY -$5,200.00 - Made in Denmark

ARTPOP - BY LADY GAGA'S - FEATURING THE SINGLE "APPLAUSE" -$14.99 -Written & Produced in NYC,NY - USA

SWATCH -L'OR DU MATIN -WATCH- LEATHER STRAP / PLASTIC CASING- $60.00 - Made in Switzerland

Happy Holidays!  Ok, it's early, but before the frenzy begins - take a moment to click through these options we compiled here at aLIFEofSTYLE.    With so many options to choose from, we put together just one small assortment of items that are unique, can appeal to a wide variety of recipients, and of course - have great style.  Many of our choices are #MadeInNYC, or #AmericanMade, a few are from Italy.   Several also reflect the "pop art" trend that has taken the sytle world by storm.  (This Ferragamo bag was created for the Wallis Annenberg Center Pop Up store happening NOW in Beverly Hills) .  At the same time -retro, artisanal products have never been more popular.  Celebrate the Artist and the Artisan this holiday season.   Purchasing handmade or handcrafted luxury items doesn't always mean you have to break the bank.  Some are ultra-luxe, but this list has a wide price range from $48.00 to $27,000.00.  All companies highlighted also have a wide range of gift options and price points.  We hope you haven't been naughty this year!!     

Click on each Image to visit the source.   Merry Christmas!

 

Tuesday
Nov052013

The Liberation of Louis Vuitton - Nicolas Ghesquire New Artistic Director

DESIGNER MARC JACOBSAs was widely suspectedLOUIS VUITTON ARTISTIC DIRECTOR - NICOLAS GHESQUIRE in fashion circles from New York to Paris, LVMH announced Monday that Nicolas Ghesquire would be the next Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton.   Filling large clown shoes left by Marc Jacobs who exited the empire after sixteen years, Ghesquire is sure to bring a modern edge to the brand.   Although Louis Vuitton is all about bags, Nicholas could actual make young women interested in LV RTW. 

Marc Jacobs is no doubt planning the inevitable IPO of his namesake brand.   As Jacobs became one of the most famous fashion designers during his tenure at Louis Vuttion, he watched as other, more mainstream designers like Tory Burch ACTRESS MICHELLE WILLIAMS STEALS THE SHOW FOR LOUIS VUITTON FALL 2013and Michael Kors became billion dollar babies.  My sources say that the powers that be at LVMH pushed Jacobs out, as the image of Vuitton had hit a plateau.  Publicly the IPO is the perfect reason for him to leave and if all goes well, both parties laugh all the way to the bank.  If I looked into a crystal ball, I would predict that after the IPO Jacobs will set his sights on his ultimate dream job - Artistic Director of CHANEL.   Of course, he'll have to wait for Karl Lagerfeld to step down.. and Karl doesn't seem like the retiring type, Octogenarian or not. 

Bravo to Nicholas Ghesquire!  The designer makes the big jump from one fashion giant to another.  When he left Balenciaga without many details it was understood his creative vision was not commercial enough for the powers that be at parent company Kering.   It seems they were intent on turning Balenciaga into Gucci.   However, over at Louis Vuttion, Bernard Arnault gave Marc 16 years to run amuck with the RTW - as long as the bags were selling.  So Nicholas might be able to do whatever he wants on the runway!  We can't wait to see what he will do with one of the biggest fashion empires in the world.   Additionally, look for a namesake label for Mr. Ghesquire..... but you knew that was coming! 

Click images and links to read more info..