With a show that honed his surrealist signatures, Simon Porte Jacquemus reminds us why he’s one of the city’s most exciting minds
It felt strange to be sitting in the Espace Tuileries – a show space normally reserved for Parisian heavyweights – waiting in anticipation of Simon Porte Jacquemus’ latest show. Then again, since last season’s epic and emotional outpouring, Jacquemus might well be considered a Paris heavyweight, waving an individualistic beacon for young Parisian designers. In a short period of time, Jacquemus has built up his repertoire to the point where the second look of a circular skirt in brown suede felt distinctly his own. There were now familiar Jacquemus-isms.
But something felt different. That naive geometry seen in Jacquemus’ past collections was sharper and sleeker. When jacket sleeves, opera gloves and shoulder angles ballooned in volume, it felt controlled. That slightly awkward suburban girl from the south of France was now striding forward in thigh-high boots and Jacquemus’ version of a heel – lace-up brogues with a blocky heel. She also carried the first Jacquemus handbag – an oval-shaped clutch with his logo embroidered on it. Dare we say this was a more grown up Jacquemus, mentally departing from his hometown of Bramejean and truly arriving on the big fashion stage of Paris?
“That naive geometry seen in Jacquemus’ past collections was sharper and sleeker... That slightly awkward suburban girl from the south of France was now striding forward in thigh-high boots”
“I was really obsessed with a new type of girl with a high heel, but it was hard, because I have always imagined her wearing flat white shoes,” said Jacquemus after the show. This new type of girl may have had more height in her step but she still had a guileless approach towards her wardrobe, piecing bits together in unexpected ways that meant sometimes a glitter Lurex slipdress would be placed on the diagonal on the front of a navy tracksuit. Or white bows would be laced up a sharp-shouldered pinstripe suit.
The soundtrack was a shuffled playlist mimicking the collection, as it oscillated from Spanish traditional music to Serge Gainsbourg to a heartfelt Marie Laforêt singing about making love like you’re 16 again. Each track stopped and started like an abrupt game of musical chairs. Likewise, the clothes ranged from recognisable signs of dressing up – blown-up opera gloves, layers of tulle, pronounced spaghetti straps – to something more rounded, like a checked shirt cut-up and spliced into a dress, or half of a puffa jacket worn like a cape.
“The idea was to imagine a lot of different clothes in a trunk, and then you have kids making a collage with them and having fun,” Jacquemus revealed. “Except this time there was so much more detail and definitely so much more research on everything. You have a couture sleeve, mixed with a 90s dress, and then mixed with the 60s basic shapes. It was this kind of ‘all together’ look. But still with poise.”
This newfound poise felt pertinent as Jacquemus was eager to show that he had range and versatility, and that he didn’t have to be boxed into a defined aesthetic just yet. “I wanted to show that I have more than one influence. It was also like reconstruction to build from zero, because what I showed last season was so hard and personal. This time was I wanted to be more strong and to show way more.” And more was exactly what we got, as Jacquemus defiantly upped his game.