A representative for Marc Jacobs confirmed the exit, adding: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.”
While it is unclear what changed so quickly, BoF has learned that Marc Jacobs is now taking a more active role in designing the lower-priced product. (Targon did not report to him.) In the past, there were two separate teams that designed the runway collection and the contemporary collection. Much of the original contemporary team was laid off before Targon arrived so that he could bring in his own designers. Those new entrants have now exited as well, meaning that Jacobs and chief executive Eric Marechalle are essentially starting from scratch. It is unclear if the collection Targon and his team conceived will be produced.
What is clear, however, is that the struggling LVMH-owned brand needs to figure out its contemporary product strategy. Since 2015 — when LVMH combined the main Marc Jacobs brand and its contemporary sister brand Marc by Marc Jacobs, causing confusion among retailers and consumers — sales have suffered. The contemporary line was once one of LVMH's most profitable lines, accounting for as much as 80 percent of the brand's revenue.
But in the last three-to-four years, consolidated retail revenues (not including fragrance royalties) have more than halved from around $650 million to about $300 million, with much of that coming from outlet stores, according to a source familiar with the business.
Targon's appointment was the first significant hire since the arrival of former Kenzo chief executive Marechalle, who took the lead at Marc Jacobs last autumn.