You’ve heard of Marc Jacobs, obviously. You know him as the blue-haired, kilt-wearing, diamond-lobed designer at the helm of—for a long stretch there—not one but two design empires. You know that you and about a million other women from SoHo to Shanghai love the quirky-feminine look of his own label as much as you loved the coquettish things he did when he was at Louis Vuitton.
Marc was born in New York and his home life was turned upside-down at the age of seven, when his father died suddenly. As his mother suffered from mental illness, he went to live with his paternal grandmother in New York, whom he credits as his inspiration.
By the age of 15, he was attending the High School of Art and Design during the day and, after school, working at the upscale clothing boutique Charivari. Marc then landed a spot at the coveted Parsons School for Design, where he stood out among his classmates by winning both the Perry Ellis Gold Thimble Award and Design Student of the Year at his graduation in 1984.
In 1987, he became the youngest designer ever to win the Council of Fashion Designers of America Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent. Marc took over as the womenswear designer for Perry Ellis, where he won the prestigious 1992 CFDA prize for Womenswear Designer of the Year.
In 1993, with financial backing from his former bosses, he started his own company with long-time business partner Robert Duffy and the Marc Jacobs label was born and soon proved a success. Despite a brief stint in rehab in 1999, he is now the head designer for Marc Jacobs as well as Marc by Marc Jacobs, a diffusion line with more than 200 retail stores in 80 countries, and he has been the creative director of the French design house Louis Vuitton since 1997. In January 2010, Marc married boyfriend Lorenzo Martone at a friend’s home in St. Barts.
To celebrate ten years of the Marc by Marc Jacobs line, in 2011 introduces Greatest Hits, a capsule collection of its best-selling pieces. In February, Marc collaborates with Playboy on three limited-edition tees sporting variations of its iconic bunny motif; 100 percent of profits benefit Designers Against AIDS.
Marc Jacobs designs a limited-edition T-shirt in support of marriage equality efforts by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil-rights organization. “I pay my taxes, I want my RIGHTS!” the shirt reads.
So, what do you think? Do you love Marc Jacobs?