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Jacquemus: Burning Bright

17 June 2020

Full of light, colour, and undeniable country charm, Jacquemus’ Spring/Summer 2020 catwalk left its mark on the fashion world. First, by where it took place, in the middle of a blooming lavender field in Valensole, Provence, while the temperature soared to 35°C in the blazing sun.  (But what more could you ask for when your collection is called Coup de Soleil, or “Sunburn?”) And second, by the eye-catching pieces on display. It was a succession of 65 coed looks made of naturally elegant, inventive, and meticulous garments that were full of references to the designer’s childhood, which he spent in Southern France.

Destination: Provence

Jacquemus served a delicious summer cocktail to the attendees who were seated along the rows of purple flowers, decor pretty enough to be pictured on a postcard. Many of the collection’s colours brought to mind sweet sorbets and ice creams. Lemon, strawberry, grenadine, pistachio, and vanilla covered monochrome pieces, or they mixed in graduated shades reminding us of sunsets and hypnotizingly colourful fruit punches.

In terms of the fabrics, flawless and crisp poplin is often used at Jaquemus, but it was paired with new materials for summer 2020. Ribbed knits, muslins, taffetas, crystals, and sequins were seen strutting down the pink carpet. The accessories, mini or maxi in size, also stood out. A miniature bag that could only hold a lipstick, a structured circular bag that reminded the designer of a cake box from his grandmother’s house, a giant tote, an oversized straw hat, a colourful bucket hat; all of these items were included.

Workwear’s influence shone through the clothing’s cuts and details that were sometimes functional, and other times purely aesthetic. We spied amplified shapes punctuated by patch pockets here and there, fooler layers, and bright, bold colour choices. At Jacquemus, workwear styles took on a sunny slant rather than being neutral and urban. The menswear looks were also marked by this trendy and relaxed vibe reminiscent of Los Angeles or Las Vegas.

Prints played a prominent role in the collection. Checks, florals (including giant daisies like the ones that you find on tablecloths), as well as impressionistic patterns similar to the works of Cézanne, sauntered down the runway. The presentation of the show itself, in this utterly enchanting setting where the classic catwalk was transformed into a dazzling pink carpet, was a reference to the paintings by British artist David Hockney. It was a striking, meticulous, artistic, and inspiring image that also reflected the designer, Simon Porte Jacquemus. 

10 Years of Fashion

This captivating runway marked the 10th anniversary of the designer’s eponymous label. Ten years in fashion is both a little and a lot, but it’s all that it took for the young French designer to carve out a more than enviable place on the international scene. The personalities seated in the front row for the Coup de soleil show and the stars that regularly wear his pieces serve as concrete proof of this fact.

At the age of 18, Simon Porte left Southern France to settle in Paris. He attended the École supérieure des arts et techniques de la mode (or ESMOD) for a few months, but his life was turned upside-down by the sudden passing of his mother. What was at first a major shock to the artist gave him the strength and will to immediately go into fashion. He left school and when he was only 20, he officially launched his own label, which he called Jacquemus after his mother’s maiden name. 

A self-taught designer, he drew his first creations, which were then produced by a seamstress. The pieces were simple, but already stood out for their perfectly executed and original details. Two years later, in 2012, he presented his first official fashion show as part of Paris Fashion Week. Jacquemus' aesthetic goes beyond clothing and accessories. The designer has mastered the art of creating a universe in itself—sunny images evocative of vacation, looks imbued with references to his childhood, Provence, works of art, and the women who inspired him. 

Jacquemus is also confident in its desire to do things its own way. After being around for 10 years, the label is still independent. The creator, who has offered a menswear collection since 2018, was conspicuous in his absence from Women’s Fashion Week in September of 2019. It was a carefully considered decision that he explained by his desire to give the label a new direction. From now on, he will only be presenting two collections per year. Therefore, his men’s and women’s collections will be shown on the same runway during the Paris Men’s Fashion Weeks.

Last October, the designer shared his thoughts about the future of his label on Instagram. There was a sense of needing to renew and evolve, but also to continue to follow his rules and principles. “I see the person that I want to be and the company that I want to run. I don’t dream of a bigger building, but instead of projects that make sense, good practices, meetings, and sharing […] I don’t want to get bigger, I want to grow.”

So, what will Jacquemus be in the future?
Only Simon himself knows, but we bet that many of us
will be continuing to follow him in his unique and imaginative world.