Marc Jacobs is leaving Louis Vuitton after 16 years with the brand -- and it's not to go to Coach. Women's Wear Daily confirmed Wednesday morning that Jacobs is exiting Vuitton to focus on an IPO for the Marc Jacobs brand, which could come some time in the next three years.

Rumors of Jacobs' exit began in June, when reports circulated that Jacobs would be leaving Vuitton to take Reed Krakoff's creative director spot at Coach. That gossip was debunked when Coach hired Stuart Vevers later that month, but buzz reignited last week during Paris Fashion Week. A source told Reuters, "His contract may not be renewed," and Fashionista wrote that their sources cited Nicolas Ghesquière, formerly of Balenciaga, as Jacobs' Vuitton replacement.

WWD reports today that Ghesquière is not confirmed in the new role, though he remains a frontrunner. But Jacobs as well as his business partner Robert Duffy are most certainly exiting Vuitton after nearly two memorable decades, a decision that marks the official start of Jacobs' IPO.

The move to go public follows several similar decisions by high-profile fashion brands. Prada raised $2.14 billion in its initial public offering back in June 2011, and Michael Kors followed suit to much fanfare that December with a buzzed-about IPO that raised $944 million. As of late, brands such as Tory Burch, J Brand, Valextra and Furla have all been floated as the next big fashion IPO.

Clearly, Marc Jacobs dwarfs them all. According to WWD, "LVMH officials believe the Marc Jacobs business could explode given sufficient investment and support, including the undivided attention of Jacobs and Duffy." Duffy's Vuitton contract is also set to expire in 2014 along with Jacobs'.

So what will an IPO mean for the company we all know and adore -- and what will happen to Louis Vuitton? That remains to be seen. Keep your eyes peeled as Vuitton seeks to fill Jacobs' very large, very stylish shoes and read more at WWD.com.

Take a walk down memory lane:

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  • December 1995 with Kate Moss

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  • September 1997 with Bijou Phillips

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  • September 2002 with Gisele Bundchen

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  • April 2003 with Takashi Murakami

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  • June 2003 with Claire Danes

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  • February 2004 with Gisele Bundchen

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  • March 2004 with Shelby Bryan & Anna Wintour

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  • April 2004 with Sofia Coppola

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  • September 2004 with Jennifer Lopez

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  • October 2004 with Lil' Kim

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  • December 2004 at the Annual Marc Jacobs Holiday Party

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  • February 2005 with Beyonce & Tina Knowles

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  • March 2005 with Winona Ryder

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  • June 2005 with Anna Wintour

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  • September 2005 with Selma Blair

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  • February 2006 with Lindsay Lohan & Camilla Al Fayed

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  • September 2007 with Carmen Electra

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  • November 2007 with Heidi Klum

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  • February 2008 with Victoria Beckham

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  • November 2008 with Lorenzo Martone

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  • September 2009 with Lorenzo Martone

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  • September 2011 with Dakota Fanning

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  • Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear at New York Fashion Week

    Front row footage from the Marc by Marc Jacobs ready-to-wear collection at New York Fashion Week Fall 2013. With nods to '70s silhouettes, Marc Jacobs lit up Lincoln Center tonight with his Fall '13 Marc by Marc Jacobs collection. True to form, you'll find new iterations of the designer's all-over prints - brilliant hues dotting dresses and checks taking over smart blazers. Altogether, he crafts a cool balance between a lineup of statement prints and more understated, menswear-inspired suiting.

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