JACQUEMUS’ new campaign is a playful people pile-up

Teaming up with choreographer Willi Dorner and photographer David Luraschi, the designer behind the irreverent French label discusses the surreal new image

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JACQUEMUS AW16 campaign
JACQUEMUS AW16 campaignPhotography David Luraschi

From publishing a campaign comprised of childhood pictures of himself and his friends to leading a white horse across the runway, Simon Porte Jacquemus’ label JACQUEMUS does not bow to expectations.

Instead, the JACQUEMUS world is playful and surreal – two words that can easily be applied to his latest project. In a new campaign image, premiered exclusively above, a tangled pile of people occupy a Parisian bench, dressed in JACQUEMUS’ AW16 collection. The result of a collaboration with noted performance artist and choreographer Willi Dorner, it’s a take on his ‘Bodies in Urban Spaces’ project – where he squeezes an unidentifiable, brightly dressed crowd into unexpected locations, like doorways or stairwells.

In fact, it was an image of Dorner’s that Jacquemus first had in mind when he started the collection, which debuted last Paris Fashion Week back in March. “I was obsessed by this ‘all togetherness’ – that there are no faces, it’s a group of people, a mix,” he recalls of the reference. “This was the idea of the collection, you had 60s inspired dresses and a 90s shirt, a lot of different things mixed all together.” He reached out to Dorner over email, and a few short weeks later he was in Paris to shoot the campaign.

"I was very happy when Jacquemus got in touch with me concerning the collaboration,” enthuses Dorner, who says he’s excited by the way his project has gone on to inspire others in different fields. “The challenge for me in this special case was to arrange the models as an interesting body sculpture on the one hand, but to make sure at the same time that the clothes don't lose anything from their impression.”

“We are all a group of people together, so there is no individuality in this campaign, and there is something very playful. I like that in JACQUEMUS there is no hierarchy” – Simon Porte Jacquemus

The resulting shot may look impressive, but with the models being members of the JACQUEMUS team rather than professional dancers or athletes, it wasn’t easy to achieve. “It was very hard for them!” the designer laughs. “You have to stay in such a wrong position. But it was very fun at the same time.” The image speaks to the family feeling of the brand – included in the pile-up is the head pattern cutter, an intern, and a model. “We are all a group of people together, so there is no individuality in this campaign, and there is something very playful. I like that in JACQUEMUS there is no hierarchy.”

The images were shot by Jacquemus’ friend David Luraschi, the photographer known for his candid iPhone portraits of people out on the street, bringing the idea of street style back to its reportage roots. It was another natural partnership for the designer, who was drawn to the documentary-style of Luraschi’s work. “I was so obsessed by his Instagram – it was real. You have an old grandfather in Paris, you have two sisters – there is so much life in his photos, I wanted to do something with him.”

But perhaps most importantly for Jacquemus, who recently created a series where a model posed against a white studio backdrop – on top of a cliff, image-making is never done for the sake of it, or simply to satisfy a commercial obligation to advertise clothing. Instead, it’s an opportunity for him to explore his vision as a designer, to create something that lasts longer than a runway show. “I don’t do a campaign just to do a campaign, I just want to make an image,” he explains. “I had an image in mind since the beginning of the collection, and I made it.”

@jacquemus | @davidluraschi

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