jacquemus wins fashion week with the ultimate made-for-instagram show
Simon Porte Jacquemus celebrated the 10th anniversary of his label with an epic sun-soaked show in a lavender field in the South of France.
Photography Marion Leflour
To celebrate his label’s 10th-anniversary, Simon Porte Jacquemus transported the fashion set to the lavender fields of Valensole. “I wanted something very poetic,” he explained post-show, surrounded by the rolling evening sun-soaked lavender fields that had already become an bonafide Instagram moment. In full bloom for one month only, this spot is a haven for influencers and couples looking to capture that perfect social media moment, so much so that there are ‘influencer warning’ signs along the roads to alert drivers of the hazard.
For his first joint women’s and men’s show, Simon and his team worked through a heatwave to weave a shocking pink-hued catwalk through the fields to showcase a joyous collection blooming with colourful expression. “I wanted a place that looked like a postcard... almost too much like a postcard,” he added with a smile and a wink.
“It’s always important for me to turn a cliché into something artistic, with that pink line running through the middle, it’s like a contemporary art installation by Christo or a painting by David Hockney.” Not only did this ultimate #outofoffice opportunity provide the perfect punctuation to a long season of shows, it enabled us to experience the south of France that Jacquemus knows so well, the south of France that continues to inspire him.
“Everyone told me it was impossible, but I had no choice,” the designer told us when we marvelled at the production that turned his daydreams into reality. “At Jacquemus, we always have to put the cart before the horse. You have to think big, otherwise you don’t achieve anything. If you try to compare yourself to others, if you try to play by the rules, it doesn’t work.” From the moment he launched Jacquemus, following the sudden death of his mother, to now, this disruptive attitude has propelled the self-taught Provence-born talent from staging guerrilla presentations outside of Dior to winning the Special Jury LVMH Prize and becoming one of Paris’ hottest (and most successful) talents, with over 230 stockists worldwide. As his show returned to the south for a third time, this was the ultimate celebratory homecoming -- the open-air catwalk evoking his artistic journey with impressionist beauty.
“I don't just do clothes, I write a story and then come the clothes," Simon explained to i-D back in 2014. Well, this was Simon’s narrative; a fun, free, sensual celebration of his life and loves. As he slowed the pace of the typical fashion show, to the fortunate few from the fashion set that joined friends and family of the brand, it was clear that this was much more than just a postcard moment. We were restored by nature, our senses enriched by the calming scent of lavender. Across undulating fields, the purple flowers merged with wheat, insects bounced from bud to bud and the Provençal sun shone down. This was Simon’s vision of his France, told through clothes rooted in the sincerity of the countryside and enriched by the incomparable influence of Paris.
Throughout the collection, pop met Provençal: Hockney, Cezanne and Lurçat were evoked through pattern and palette. Bold, bright colours coexisted with warm pastels and sun-bleached shades. Girls wore extra-large men’s shirts with sheer, wispy skirts, while guys combined sheer floral windbreakers with workwear shorts. Dresses and shirts with hourglass corsets detailed lean couture, tailored jackets and suits were cut airy. Whether wearing a body-contoured leather apron, an integrated jacket-vest or poplin outerwear, all looks served uncomplicated ease.
From faded Vichy and trompe l’oeil shirt stripes to playful arrangements of artichokes inspired by Simon’s grandparents, wildflowers and lavender sprigs, market vegetables -- all printed, embroidered or laser-burned -- this was one of Simon’s most graphic collections to date. It reminded us of the naivety of his earliest art-driven collections, while demonstrating just how far he’s come. This playfulness was echoed in the accessories as women’s bags mimicked biscuit tins, painted canvases, lavender sachets and a utility tool bag. Men carried harvest sacks, in canvas or covered in sequins, and panniers were reinterpreted for everyday use.
A special collaboration with Swarovski was timed to add 385,000 sparkles to the ten-year celebration and yielded a crystal mesh polo shirt, a dress in crystal patchwork and cascading embellishments on women’s heels. “These exceptional Swarovski pieces reinforce the image of fantastical characters, too sophisticated for their context,” Simon explained. “In this setting, their radiance is a departure from the codes we expect to see in a Jacquemus show. And yet, they correspond to the artisanal spirit at the heart of the house,” he added.
“Ultimately, this collection is not at all about Provence but rather, the codes of the house, and about other places too. It’s all these women who have inspired me that were not from here, who were overdressed, and these guys who wear too many prints, but who still look cool.” It was all of these and more, it was pure Jacquemus. It was extra-sunny reverie made real. Happy birthday Jacquemus and thank you for the Instagram moments. We won’t forget your party any time soon.
Photography Marion Leflour and courtesy of Swarovski.