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Following last week's announcement that Marc by Marc Jacobs would be discontinued, several questions immediately arose: Is the brand preparing for an IPO? Would they retain the lower-priced label's design team, Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley? And, most importantly for New Yorkers, what would happen to Jacobs' West Village empire, half of which is comprised of Marc by Marc Jacobs stores along Bleecker Street?
In a lengthy interview with WWD, Jacobs, along with co-founder and president Robert Duffy and CEO Sebastian Suhl, only spoke around the last point, providing hints at best. "We have loads of opportunities to operate and open more stores, but I think the main focus is really getting the concept right, the product right under a unified store concept," Suhl said on the broad concept of retail.
The paper added that the CEO "likes the concept of multiple stores, particular [sic] in the West Village," and he "considers Bookmarc an off-beat and delightful concept that can be expanded." So while 382 Bleecker Street, 385 Bleecker Street, and 301 West 4th Street might not don Marc by Marc Jacobs awnings for much longer, it sounds as if New York can expect new concepts to replace them—not new brands.
And MBMJ stores won't be the only ones seeing change. The original Mercer Street store—which Jacobs said that he and Duffy leased on a drunken whim after getting fired from Perry Ellis in the early 90s, before they could even afford to make clothes—will likely be the first to undergo a redesign and serve as a template for future stores, according to Suhl. The brand leases the entire building, and is looking to double the amount of selling space by converting offices on higher floors.
"Originally, there was our store and the Mercer Hotel," Jacobs reflected on the original location, which recently got a pink paint job. "Now there is Balenciaga, Prada on the corner, Marni next to us, Versace across the street. So there is something to be said for instincts or whim, whether they are drunkenly inspired or otherwise. But it wasn't shooting an arrow up in the sky and seeing if it came back to you. We believed this little garage on Mercer Street could be a great first store."