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Jacquemus AW16 e-store campaign
Jacquemus AW16 e-store campaignPhotography Theresa Marx, art direction Simon Porte Jacquemus

Getting surreal in the south of France with Jacquemus

French fashion’s young poet reveals his AW16 e-commerce campaign, and tells us how he is approaching online retail in a different and distinctly ‘Jacquemus’ way

Simon Porte Jacquemus launched his eponymous label at the age of 19, and has since risen to become one of Paris’s most feted emerging designers. Twice nominated for the LVMH Prize, he’s gained a reputation for his fresh, deconstructed, surrealist designs and his highly poetic shows – like the one for SS16, which saw a small, barefooted child roll a gigantic ball of red string down the catwalk and, later, the designer himself leading a white horse across the stage.

It’s this sense of poetry that informs his AW16 campaign, unveiled today exclusively on Dazed. But this is more than a campaign – these images, shot by Theresa Marx near Jacquemus’ hometown in the south of France, double up as an e-commerce site. Not content with the boring, pack shot-style images that dominate the majority of online retail destinations, the designer decided to approach things in a different way. He’s kept the white background, but put it in an IRL context with ephemera that relate to the collection in some way. Here, he tells us more.

What is the idea behind these images?

Simon Porte Jacquemus: For me, it’s a new approach to e-commerce. E-commerce sites can be very boring and ugly – and Jacquemus is not about that. So I wanted to bring something more playful and stronger as images, but at the same time I wanted to use them to sell clothes.

Can you discuss the images that you’ve created?

Simon Porte Jacquemus: The collection is about reconstruction, when you have a lot of different clothes from a lot of different people, and you put them all together and you create something new. Like an art shirt mixed with a t-shirt. I wanted these images to have something to do with the idea of a washing line. I’ve loved washing lines since my childhood, so I wanted to do something like this. 

Why do you like washing lines?

Simon Porte Jacquemus: I love this question. Well, I don’t know. I think it’s partly because, in the south of France, there are washing lines everywhere.

So it kind of reminds you of home?

Simon Porte Jacquemus: Yeah, for sure. But it’s also because of Herbert List, who is a classic photographer.

Did you shoot the campaign near your home?

Simon Porte Jacquemus: Yes, near my hometown, between Marseille and Avignon. I always shoot there because the light is so good. This time, though, it wasn’t very sunny, it rained all day.

“Jacquemus is not about nightlife and clubbing and things like that, it’s more about fruit and vegetables and rolling in the grass” – Simon Porte Jacquemus

Why do you like the south of France so much? What is special about that place for you?

Simon Porte Jacquemus: The energy of the people is very different to Paris – in Paris, people are not smiley and in the south of France, people are smiley. They are nice people.

Do you think Jacquemus is a smiley brand?

Simon Porte Jacquemus: It’s got something with to do with happiness, yes. It’s not just stupid smiles, but I always want to try and create something very innocent. Jacquemus is not about nightlife and clubbing and things like that, it’s more about fruit and vegetables and rolling in the grass. It’s very playful, in a way.

What do you think about the energy of Paris right now? People are talking about the nightlife and the clubbing...

Simon Porte Jacquemus: I don’t know, I live in my bubble. I know that, of course, a lot of attention is on those designers right now, but I don’t really know how to answer that question. I think it’s good that those designers have more and more of a voice in the industry. I think it’s really good and really refreshing and, voilà, I think it’s a good thing. 

You once said that you want to see more poetry in fashion, what did you mean?

Simon Porte Jacquemus: It’s exactly what I want to say through my online shop, I think it’s possible to sell clothes and to say something... In my shows as well, I always try to say something more than just showing a lookbook, because I think it’s boring otherwise.