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How to live a joyous Provençal life like Simon Porte Jacquemus

Ahead of the designer’s debut menswear show, we remember all the times he melted our hearts

If Martin Margiela is known for his whites, and Valentino for red, then Simon Porte Jacquemus is without doubt represented by blue and yellow. The French designer’s Instagram is awash with shades of sunshine, sky, and sea, as he splits his time between his atelier in Paris and his hometown in Provence, where he hangs out by the pool or at the beach with his nephews and beloved grand-mère, rides barefoot around town on his scooter, and dances to loud pop music at provincial nightclubs with lifelong friends including Jeanne Damas.  

Sounds completely joyous? It is. Simon’s joie de vivre is as evident in every image he posts to IG as it is in his playful, sexy, woman-celebrating collections, demonstrating a sense of uninhibited happiness and humour that fashion can sometimes lack. It also serves as a reminder to appreciate what you have – the designer is a man of simple pleasures, and seems all the more content for it. “Jacquemus is not about nightlife and clubbing and things like that,” he told us back in 2016. “It’s more about fruit and vegetables and rolling in the grass.”  

And while, admittedly, it does look like Simon spends a lot of time rolling in said grass in the sun-drenched South of France, appearances can be deceptive. In addition to his womenswear offering, the (twice) LVMH Prize-nominated designer has been busy putting the finishing touches to his debut menswear collection, which he presents as part of a runway show in Marseille tonight. First announced back in February at the end of his AW18 show, he’s been teasing at what he has in-store for the boys ever since: first with a shot of French rugby player Yoann Meistri wearing a pair of white pants as he revealed the collection’s name, Le Gadjo, and later with a series of sneak peeks at final preparations for this evening’s event.

As we count down the hours until he reveals what he’s been working on over the course of the last few months, here we outline some of the joyous lessons to be learnt from the designer’s Instagram account.

DANCE LIKE NOBODY’S WATCHING

The IG posts in which Simon dances and sings with friends are but a small part of the bigger picture: head to his Instagram stories for a lot more of this. In this video posted just a few days before the upcoming Le Gadjo show, the designer takes a break from last-minute preparations (note: a v good idea in itself) to dance on a terrace overlooking the sea at dusk with one of his beaucoup La Bomba pals. And not only does he dance, he sings too. Granted, not particularly well, but we love him all the more for it. The lesson? Close your eyes and just let go.

BE YOUR OWN FAN CLUB

Over the years, Simon has been honing the aesthetic of his label. Sure, he’s found models who are actually from Marseille for his shows and even cast his very own cousin once, but who better to represent the Jacquemus life, than Jacquemus himself? Here, we see Simon in a white dress from his Les Santons de Provence SS17 collection, BTS at the collection’s campaign shoot. Elsewhere (scroll back up to the cover to feast your eyes again) we see the designer on a black sandy beach dressed in a beaded dress, giant sun hat, and tiny handbag from his SS18 La Bomba collection – meaning ‘the bomb’. Goes without saying, but that’s exactly how we feel about Simon.

DON’T FORGET WHERE YOU COME FROM

For Simon, the south of France is more than just a constant source of inspiration, it’s his home and is where his heart will always be. Splitting his time between Paris and his birthplace, the designer loves to show off all his favourite things – most of them memories from his childhood. For his book Marseille je t’aime, one image shows an aerial shot of Simon lying in his grandparents’ field surrounded by his fashions. He’s literally down-to-earth. 

STAY HUMBLE

Other than us – the biggest fans IMO – Simon has fans all over the world, desperate to wear his clothes and become the Jacquemus woman (and man, shortly). Among them are Rihanna, Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and even royalty in the form of Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco. With all of that fame and adoration, Simon still hasn’t let it go to his head. He’s never to good to pose for a picture. He’s the people’s designer, and he’ll never let us down.

NEVER LOSE THE ABILITY TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF

One of the most endearing things about Simon is his ability to laugh at himself, which he does on the regular: take his throwback posts as proof if you’re in need of some. Including pictures of him as a gap-toothed kid, his forays into child modelling (including for Pampers and French Carambars), and later as an emo-fringed, moody (although we’re guessing not that moody) teenager, in an industry in which ‘cool’ is the ultimate currency, it’s refreshing to be confronted by someone who takes it all in his stride.

CHERISH YOUR FAMILY 

Though Simon’s life may seem idyllic, as he dashes between Paris and Provence and frequently gets down amongst that aforementioned grass in the sun, he has had more than his fair share of sadness. When he was 18, his mother Valérie died, prompting him to start Jacquemus (which was her maiden name). He also dedicated his AW15 collection to her, and has explained he continuously designs for the girl she once was. “My mother was very warm, and also a bit childish in the way she would wear big pantaloon trousers or granny dresses,” he told AnOther in 2016. “Without any money she could look very special and artistic. She wasn’t ‘French chic’. She was too smiley for that, with her shiny eyes and shiny persona.” Now, the designer remains close to his family, with cousin Jean and his grandmother appearing regularly on his IG, all warm smiles and shiny eyes (and sometimes in pieces from his collections). Of his disposition, Simon explains: “I’m never sad. I’m not obsessed with being the best or the biggest. I just want to stay free.” *Insert ten heart emojis here*

APPRECIATE THE QUIET MOMENTS

Unlike many of us who grew up in small, provincial towns and were desperate to leave at the first opportunity, Simon has always loved his hometown, and balances his city-based job with life in the countryside. He also really loves his grandmother’s donkeys who regularly feature on his IG, and the quiet moments he spends with them, getting back to nature out in the field. Okay, fine, so he’s prolific when it comes to documenting those quiet moments in his many, many stories... but when his stories involve heartwarming shots and videos of him tenderly petting the animals, you won’t find us complaining.

LOVE WITH AN OPEN HEART

You might think that with his family, love of nature, and pride in his birthplace Simon doesn’t have any more space for love in his life, but you’d be wrong. Following his AW18 collection, the designer finally announced what his ‘new job’ was – a new menswear line. “I was like ‘when I fall in love is when I’m going to do the men’s because he’s going to exist’,” the designer shared backstage. “When he’s someone I can see, someone I can smell and I know what he’s eating – I know everything about him.” Although we have since learned that our handsome hero is now single, that isn’t stopping his menswear line from continuing. We love you Simon, and we hope you feel the same.