Louis Vuitton is losing its creative designer, Marc Jacobs, who is leaving the company to focus on his own line. He was the highest profile American designer at a major European fashion house, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Jacobs, 50, was known for his outrageous runway shows. Per Women's Wear Daily:
In recent years he has commissioned an elaborate carousel; an iron-framed elevator; a Pop Art escalator; a full, functioning train and, last fall, an entire floor of a "hotel," its doors opening upon videos of hotel "guests" apparently unaware of the voyeuristic eyes of the audience.
The designer joined Louis Vuitton in 1997, but rumors of his leaving the fashion label had grown since his contract was due to expire at the end of the year. WWD reports that he plans to take his namesake company public, something Michael Kors — another former Vuitton designer — did in December 2011. Kors raised $944 million with his IPO.
Michael Burke, chief executive of Vuitton, told the Journal on Wednesday that they were "doing what's good for Marc and the future of his company. Marc's wish is to take it to the next level." The LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton group owns a one-third share of Jacobs' New York-based company, with Jacobs and his business partner, Robert Duffy, each owning a third.
A successor has not been named, but The New York Times reports that former Balenciaga designer, Nicolas Ghesquiere, is on the list of possibles. Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH, said an announcement might come by the end of the month.