This is a guest article by author and brand consultant Ana Andjelic, the founder of The Sociology of Business. You can subscribe to her newsletter here.

When Marc Jacobs joined Louis Vuitton in 1997, he was told that one things that he cannot touch was the logo. Obviously, he changed the logo.

“Anti-snob snobbism” is Jacobs’ 2001 work with Stephen Sprouse. In it, Sprouse and Jacobs translated LV logo into the urban, street, countercultural aesthetic and did not just create something visually new. They launched a new model of the global brand building and turned fashion-art collaborations into the backbone of a brand’s relevance.

Before Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton was a luggage and leather goods brand.

When he joined, in 1997, Jacobs created LV’s first women’s ready-to-wear line. In 2004, he launched menswear for the brand, and the line still largely follows Jacobs’ metrosexual-dandy, sporty-elegant, high-tech fabrics blueprint.

Then, there are the collaborations: in addition to Sprouse, Marc Jacobs worked with Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami, among others.

In the process, Jacobs modernized luxury and quadrupled Louis Vuitton’s business. He put forward a vision that’s both downtown and uptown, young, glamorous and gritty.

Before Demna, Marc Jacobs built his collections and seasonal shows around surprise, daring, anti-establishment sentiment, and rule-breaking. Before Thom Browne and JW Anderson’s LOEWE, Jacobs shows had a mischief, a wink, daring, and playfulness.

Before Kim Jones’ Dior, Jacobs turned the mundane into extraordinary. Before MSCHF made its name by hijacking corporate logos, Marc Jacobs did it first.

Before the 2022/2023 fashion show spectacles, Jacobs was one of fashion’s greater showmen, with shows featuring water fountains, hotel corridors, escalators and a real-life sized LV train. Fittingly, Jacobs’ last collection for Louis Vuitton was dedicated to the “showgirl in all of us.”

Jacobs set a playbook for preserving a brand heritage by repeatedly making it incredibly modern. It’s the playbook that Louis Vuitton has not changed since he left.


In 2001, Jacobs turned LV logo into its spray-painted graffiti version, curtesy of Stephen Sprouse. Called Graffiti Speedy, the bag that sported it, was an instant hit when it launched and today enjoys a healthy valuation on the resale market.

In 2003, Takashi Murakami provided his interpretation of the monogram bag, called Eye Love Monogram Collection, and in 2006, he followed it up with an ad aired in Japan that was called “Superflat monogram.” In addition to the now-iconic multi-colored print, the Murakami x Louis Vuitton collaboration also debuted putipanda, mongramouflage and cherry blossoms prints.

Also in 2003, Jacobs collaborated with Yayoi Kusama. The collaboration was revisited by the brand in 2022.

In 2008, Jacobs collaborated with Richard Prince, sending nurses wearing black lace surgical masks down the runway. After seeing Prince’s 2007 exhibition “Spiritual America” at the Guggenheim, Jacobs recreated his “Nurse” series paintings via see-through pulp-era uniforms, masks and branded hats. Handbags that were featured in the show nodded to Prince’s “Jokes” series - later used by Raf Simmons in his first Calvin Klein campaign.


“I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect — they are much more interesting,” Jacobs said.

An avid art collector himself, Jacobs introduced collaborations — and the resulting collectibles — between art world and fashion as one of the dominant modes of the luxury brand building. Novelty at the time, artworks in the material form of luxury fashion items are what high-end brands are made on now.

Celebrity Friends

Today’s fashion creative directors have influencers as muses. Marc has Victoria Beckham, Sophia Coppola, Kate Moss and Miss Piggy.

In 2012, Miss Piggy wore a Marc Jacobs-designed custom Louis Vuitton outfit to the BAFTA awards. Many years later, Balenciaga ventured into pop-culture territory with its The Simpsons fashion show.

During Jacobs’ tenure at Louis Vuitton, the Maison’s icons campaign was also launched. In the place of Messi and Ronaldo, there were Pele, Zidane and Maradona. The series also featured Muhammad Ali, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Keith Richards among others, and continues to this day.

This is a guest article by author and brand consultant Ana Andjelic, the founder of The Sociology of Business. You can subscribe to her newsletter here.

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