Marc Jacobs was born in New York City, New York in 1964. He studied at Parsons School of Design, and graduated in 1984. Jacobs' first collection was hand-knit sweaters produced by Charivari, the New York clothing store where he worked as a stock boy. These sweaters earned him the Perry Ellis Golden Thimble award at Parsons. His first ready-to-wear collection in 1986 was produced by Rubin Thomas, Inc.
In 1989, Jacobs became head designer at Perry Ellis. Jacobs gave new life to the firm with the energy and excitement of its founder. His work reflected the design skills of Ellis, revived with the extraordinary colors of fall in ocher, pumpkin, plum, camel, and rust, renewing the vitality of the Ellis spectrum. In the fall of 1991, Jacobs showed a grape princess coat over a brown cardigan, and a tangerine car coat with a butterscotch sweater and trousers with complete coloristic self-confidence. Ellis' sensuous fabrics were transmuted into Jacobs' hallmark sophistication: cashmere, camel, wool and angora, and mohair were soft, sumptuous materials. Jacobs treated each new interpretation of stripes, American flag, tartan, or gingham with a renewing luxury. His tailoring is also refined during that time, returning to such classics as a Norfolk jacket or the eight-button double-breasted camel wool flannel suit for fall 1990 that appeared on the front page of Women's Wear Daily.
For spring 1990, he introduced a red and-white tablecloth cotton shirt and jacket accompanied by embroidered and beaded black ants; his early "Freudian slip" was a simple dress imprinted with the face of the Viennese master; fall 1991 showed sweaters with aphorisms borrowed from the tart embroideries of Elsie de Wolfe. In Jacobs' fall 1990 "fresh berries and cream" collection, he featured blueberry herringbone patterns on a cream field in wool jackets and the same design in short chiffon flirt skirts. His spring 1992 collection, focused on the Wild West and Southern California, was a smart synthesis of Hollywood glamour (including an Oscar dress with the Academy Award statue) and boot-stomping country-and-western cowgirls, a perfect combination of rodeo and Rodeo Drive.
For spring 1993, Jacobs introduced his now legendary "grunge" collection with flowered silk little-girl dresses paired with combat boots and $300 silk shirts printed to look like flannel; it never made it into retail stores but was highly regarded by the fashion press. It was his promotion of this look that got him fired from Perry Ellis. In 1994, Jacobs showed under his own name. His collection featured tailored striped pantsuits, knee-length skirts, and calf-length double-breasted satin coats. A fitted wool jacket topped a silk floral dress, and jeweled cashmere cardigans framed taffeta slip dresses in his successful spring 1996 collection.
In 1997, the legendary handbag company Louis Vuitton chose Jacobs as its artistic director. Jacobs’mission was to design a full line of ready-to-wear fashions for the first time. Jacobs’ designs for Louis Vuitton began with secret LV logos hidden beneath buttons, hems, and soles of shoes. He produced Damier-print pony-skin sling backs, patent leather-embossed Bernis bags in Crayola hues, and stiff raincoats and trenches splattered with tiny LVs. For spring 2000, Jacobs offered simple pleated trousers in lightweight wool adorned with bead-lined pockets and great swirly prints in 1960s colors. His fall 2001 menswear collection, featured neo-romantic gentlemen” in black leather pea coats with red trimmed buttonholes and bold stripy shires worn under high-necked sweatshirts. In his fall-winter 2001-2002 womenswear collection he introduced small fitted jackets with cropped sleeves and bell skirts, princess coats, and soft empire-waist dresses. Fabrics included cotton flannel, silk twill, denim, jersey, and sealskin. Striking details like mink-covered buttons and sexy leather lace-up boots finished off the collection. Starting with one handbag on the runway in 1998, he celebrated the end of a successful show in spring 2004, with every model carrying a different Vuitton bag. Jacobs succeeded in making the Louis Vuitton bag, a fashion must-have. Also in 2004, Jacobs and his business partner Robert Duffy signed a ten-year contract with Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton (LVMH), keeping Jacobs and the LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault in a continuous business partnership.
For Jacobs' own line, the fall 2001 season portrayed girlish innocence dressed in elegance and sophistication. The crowd pleasers were cashmere coats using oversized, childlike buttons, colorful trompe l'oeil lapels, yellow mohair and sequin coats, and edgy jersey dresses. In 2001, Jacobs also launched his Marc collection, creating a lineup for his creased front, hip-hugging jeans. For fall, the Marc line included heavily-buttoned military coats mixed with multiple tiered skirts, pink and yellow striped jeans, and graffiti sweatshirts. In 2005, Jacobs launched the Little Marc collection; a collection of childrenswear for age’s two to seven. His apparel today includes womenswear, menswear, accessories, fragrances, home items, eyewear, and a watch line.
Marc Jacobs is the recipient of numerous Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and other design awards. He was also honored with the Council of Fashion Designers of America Perry Ellis award, 1988; and with the Womenswear Designer of the Year award, in 1992 and in 1988.