Unless you have been living under a rock, you'd already know that Marc Jacobs has announced that he is discontinuing his diffusion line, Marc by Marc Jacobs. According to industry trade journal Women's Wear Daily, rumors have swirled since before the New York collections about "possible changes at Marc Jacobs". It has now been confirmed that the sister line will be absorbed into the primary Marc Jacobs line.
While this news is shocking, it is not as shocking as the speculations on what will happen to the two star designers recently hired to front MbMJ. Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley were named creative directors at MbMJ late 2013. Their first collection, which was well-received by the media, was shown in February last year at New York Fashion Week.
But who are the creative directors that made MbMJ that much cooler than it already is?
Bartley and Hillier are great friends, and were introduced to one another in the late 1990s by uber-stylist Katie Grand. Within a week they were working together at the Luella label that Bartley founded in 1999.
According to Vogue.com, before Hillier was made creative director at MbMJ, she was a successful accessories designer and creative consultant who runs her own jewellery and accessories line, Hillier London. In 1999, she scored a job as Bartley's assistant.
She is often credited with helping to create the It-bag sensation, most notably with Luella's highly-decorated styles of the early Noughties. When she set up her design consultancy in 2004, Hillier made a name for herself as a pre-eminent accessory designer and creative consultant. These collaborations have included Victoria Beckham, Loewe, Stella McCartney and Giles Deacon. She also had a decade long collaboration with Marc Jacobs at Marc by Marc Jacobs.
Luella Bartley, on the other hand, started her career not as a designer but as a journalist, writing for Vogue, The Evening Standard, The Face and Dazed & Confused.
In 1999, she decided to launch her own label, Luella and the brand quickly became one of the British fashion industry's biggest success stories gaining major critical acclaim and a huge celebrity cult following.
American Vogue described her as, "a star…a poster child for London cool", whilst Alexa Chung, Sienna Miller and Gwyneth Paltrow were frequently seen in her designs.
10 years into building a successful brand, Bartley fell victim to the economic recession 2009. Bartley made a surprising decision to cease trading and took a took a four-year hiatus from fashion.
Since leaving the Marc by Marc Jacobs brand, Hillier and Bartley has announced that they will launch their own luxury brand called Hillier Bartley. London's The Guardian reported that the first collection for Hillier Bartley will debut in shops in August. While no images have been released so far, a press release has been sent out, stating that the clothes uses “classic English references and has a masculine elegance".
If Marc had accessible price points, this may be more high end. Manufactured in the UK, they will be using Savile Row fabrics, while bags are produced in Italy.
Because of the duo's impeccable chemistry and judging from how well-received their collections for MbMJ were, it is without a doubt that this new luxury brand will be a force to be reckoned with. It can be assumed that the label will have a more youthful vibe ala Bartley's own label as well as the MbMJ label.
We really can't wait to preview the new line. Watch this space as we bring you more updates as they come!