Take a seaside stroll with Jacquemus and float away in Simon Porte's summer daydreams.
Following his bad-ass girl gang loafing around a swimming pool in France, Jacquemus' Simon Porte chose to stay by the waterside by taking our hand and leading us along the promenade of La Grande Motte. Our companion was his muse, a young and melancholic-looking figure of Dolorès Doll exploring the delapidated grandeur with an ice cream in hand. Four years from the frst Jaquemus daydreams, Simon still knows how to have fun. Now about to move his studio to a bigger space in Paris, we asked Simon about his inspirations, the development of his brand, and if the Jacquemus girl is ever going to go through a crisis of adolescence.
"I feel that Jacquemus shows a girl who is really different from the others, a girl thatl has not really been represented before."
Can you describe your collection in three words?
Naïve, sporty, and... ice cream.
What was it about the French seaside town of La Grande Motte that inspired you?
I wanted to do an 80s inspired short film that spoke about a young girl during her holidays. She falls in love, plays tennis, eats and sells ice-creams. The idea was to make a collection that looks like the little town of La Grande Motte. It's almost tacky, a forgotten town. I also wanted the “J'aime la vie” slogan to look like a free advertising t-shirt of the 80s. And all of that mixed with the idea of the crazy 70s architecture of the town, its infinite curves, the strong architectural minimalism. It's a seaside town that really has suffered and has become has-been. I even heard about a tour operator who launched a campaign that basically said “If you're going to La Grande Motte, you're not travelling with us”. So you see, it really had this image of being a tacky summer destination.
Do you hope people will fall for its charms once again?
Actually, after the show in Paris, the mayor contacted me, so I am supposed to meet with him. I really like when a collection sort of comes to an end, when it goes beyond fashion. I also saw a lot of tweets and Instagrams of people, inspired by the collection, who said that they wanted to spend their summer there.
Next season's t-shirt says "J'aime la vie", tell us what you love about life.
I like having fun, dancing, eating sweets. But actually my collections also define my mood. So since “La Grande Motte”, I really crave for ice-creams.
You have only released the teaser of your collection movie, what can we expect from the full length feature?
It will be a short film of around seven or eight minutes. It's a simple video postcard detailing my heroine's summer life. Nothing is spectacular, it just tells the tale of a typical French summer holiday. I wanted this girl to be different, quite lonely, in her own world. She doesn't swim, she just walks along the beach, and it kind of feels like she got there by chance. She's very melancholic, introverted.
Will the Jacquemus girl grow up? If so, how?
She will grow up but her childlike naivety and sense of fun will remain. For next season, I really want change my approach and how I choose to present my collection. I really feel a lot of things could change about the Jacquemus girl and that she needs to evolve That said, I might get scared and change my mind at the last moment.
What do you think of today's emerging young French designers?
I respect them a great deal but none of them have the same vision as myself. Unpretentiously, I feel that Jacquemus shows a girl who is really different from the others, a girl thatl has not really been represented before.
What has changed since you started your brand in 2010?
I am honestly thrilled and also reassured because no I can do a little more each and every season. I'm edging closer to what I want to achieve. I can afford to develop my collections. I used to only be able to make five patterns because I could not afford more. The fact that my designs started out with a strong minimalist aesthetic is partly due to my lack of financial means. I am still the only young designer showing at Paris fashion week who does not have any investors. I really started from scratch and it's slowly moving forward and that's thanks to the stores who buy my collections. For example, there are knits for the first time this season because I could not afford to have knitwear before. Now, I am finally going to be able to devote all my time to my designs, without having to get a job aside.
You speak a lot about being attached to your native region of Provence, but what about Paris? How do you like it here and would you see yourself living in Paris forever?
Each of my collections talk about a girl that would be parisian in winter and the south in summer. That sums me up pretty well. I need both Paris and my native Provence. I am not in love with Paris but I feel ok here. Everything is here for me and I'm slowly getting attached to the city.