Jacquemus puts a masculine spin on feminine chic in Paris

Simon Porte Jacquemus, the designer behind 2018’s giant straw hat, XXL basket and micro mini bag, has taken his latest collection in an unexpected direction.

The 29-year-old French wunderkind, who has been unofficially crowned the prince of Paris fashion week for his fresh take on femininity, said he was taking a step back from his much-imitated statement pieces and the skintight dresses that he has made his signature.

“[My] last shows were all about sensuality and the south of France but I’m not just that,” Jacquemus said. “I wanted to show the arty and conceptual mood I had at the beginning [of my career] and balance that with something sensual and wearable.”

As a result, for autumn/winter 2019 his “new dress” would be a suit, he said, which came in myriad form, beautifully cut from ribbed and aran wool as well as parachute silk.

Jacquemus models wearing leather culottes, utilitarian waistcoats and belted coats

Leather culottes, utilitarian waistcoats and belted coats. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

“I did so many dresses for the last couple of seasons it was too much. I wanted to do something much more masculine,” the designer said. With success came a bigger budget and at last the opportunity to buy more expensive fabrics and textiles, he added.

With this collection, his tailoring has moved beyond the traditional to incorporate oversized pockets, leather culottes and utilitarian waistcoats. Belted coats in leopard print, structured oversized knits and long asymmetrical dresses worn over palazzo trousers came with the easy, laissez-faire attitude that makes his clothes so wearable. “What I show is what I sell,” he said.

There was also a lot of fun. One shirt and trouser combination in “the blue of David Hockney” was styled with earrings featuring a childhood photograph of Jacquemus, his brother and his mother in a swimming pool, which customers will be able to customise. Elsewhere, large padded bumbags punctuated polished looks.

The set was inspired by his love of French cinema, taking on the form of a town square with florists, grocers and boulangeries. He may be eschewing the direct sartorial references to the romanticism of the riviera but he still knows how to work the aspirational lifestyle of the region to his advantage.

Prints incorporated hand-drawn sketches of ceramic pots you might pick up in a Sunday morning flea market, while a cream trouser suit was adorned with appliqué tulips.

A model in Jacquemus

Citrus colours and oversized earrings. The set was inspired by the designer’s love of French cinema. Photograph: François Guillot/AFP/Getty Images

Despite his age, Jacquemus has been around the block. After making his fashion week debut in October 2012, he was shortlisted for the prestigious LVMH prize, winning the special jury accolade the following year.

However, he had been designing for years before that. A video recently surfaced of Jacquemus early in his career, dressing friends in his clothes and crashing a French Vogue consumer event in the French capital to present his designs to the then fashion editor, Emmanuelle Alt.

It is this youthful confidence that permeates every aspect of his brand, and with this collection he shows he is not afraid to carve his own path rather than play to the Instagram crowd. Jacquemus revealed on Monday that the change of direction had been hard but he was happy with the results.

Models in Jacquemus tailoring

Neutral tones outside the greengrocer. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

Given that the French leg of the autumn/winter fashion weeks stretches for nine days, it is confirmation of his popularity and selling power that so many editors, buyers and other industry heavyweights arrived for day one to be present at his show.

Jacquemus told Fantastic Man magazine last year that he had been approached by a global French fashion house, among many others, to become its head designer, but turned the offer down.

“I don’t need the stamp of approval that comes from working for a big house … I have a big house: Jacquemus is my house and now I want to take it somewhere.”

This collection showed his determination and dexterity at doing so.


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