Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier
It's been announced this morning that two big British fashion names are set to take the creative reigns at Marc by Marc Jacobs. WWD reported that for the first time since Marc Jacobs and his business partner Robert Duffy launched the diffusion line 13 years ago the positions of creative director and design director will be occupied by someone other than Jacobs. And we're excited to hear that the two designers set to fill his glittery shoes are Katie Hillier who has been named creative director, and her good friend Luella Bartley, set to take over as design director of women’s ready-to-wear.
Hillier, who has been working for Marc by Marc Jacobs in a freelance capacity for 10 years, was the first to be brought on board and after being handed the responsibility of hiring her own team, appointed British designer Bartley. The two pals previously worked together between 1999 and 2009 when Bartley ran her own fashion label, beloved of stars including Alexa Chung, Pixie Geldof and Chloe Sevigny. They will continue to work from their bases in London, which Duffy doesn't consider a problem: “You can work anywhere now,” he said. “You can have fittings via Skype. You can do whatever you want.”
Marc Jacobs and Robert Duffy
He openly admits that the decision to shake things up at the label comes after realising that it was “getting a little stale.” When Marc by Marc Jacobs first hit the scene it was blazing a trail for future sister lines. Nowadays the fashion world is saturated with more accessible collections from See by Chloé to Armani Exchange by Armani, as well as contemporary labels like Alexander Wang and Alice + Olivia.
Duffy explained: “The competition has become too great. We have an issue with the ready-to-wear. I knew it because I pay very close attention to company-owned retail stores and I knew what was happening. We started out really strong in denim, and then we just let it go. We rested on our laurels and it hurt us.”
Watch this space to see what direction Hillier and Bartley take Marc by Marc Jacobs in next.