In the Seventeenth century, fashion designers staged collections for a select group of high society elites in attempt to reduce dozens of individual consultations. These collections were embraced by none other than Charles Fredrick Worth, the founding father of Haute Couture, during the 1850’s. Parisian fashion designers followed suit and organized sporadic presentations which manifested into what is known now as Paris Fashion Week.
The contemporary fashion scene has been revolutionized by technology; iPhone live streams, influencer guest lists and peacocking for street style photographers are fashion week standard. As online connection becomes increasingly accessible, the previously hyper-exclusive high fashion barricades are decaying. Regardless of fashion week’s metamorphosis, the tradition is deeply routed within the concrete of Parisian streets.With that said, this does not mean new traditions are not being founded.
Though independent fashion house Jacquemus was deemed an outsider by the traditional Parisian scene, their creations continue to dominate the fashion world. Creator and creative director Simon Porte Jacquemus was born and raised in the South of France, yet did not pursue fashion and designing in the most traditional of ways. Jacquemus is a wrecking ball to the Parisian heritage. Louis Vuitton may be closing the week—but Jacquemus is solely opening on day one.
Jacquemus moved to Paris at the age of eighteen following graduation from high school to attend the École Supérieure Des Arts et Techniques De La Mode. A month into his pursuit of a degree, his mother, Valérie Jacquemus passed away in a tragic car accident.
The loss of his mother altered the course of his life; igniting an obsession with the concept of time within Simon. At the age of nineteen, he launched his label under the maiden name of Valérie. Simon endured his grief through the expression of fabric through narrating of the nostalgia felt toward his childhood summers spent basking in the sun, swimming in the sea, and in a state of blissful innocence.
Jacquemus is not only for Parisian woman, but French woman, including the Island girls of Corsica and Martinique.
As brands venture into resort wear, creative directors pay homage to house archives, with the escape to warmer climates in mind. Designers often lack poetic beauty in Resort collections because they are merely attempting to fill the commercial requirement of untapped market potential for house backed by conglomerates like LVMH. Jacquemus is able communicate the artistic, sensual and the folklore of the French coast season after season for that is the story he chooses to tell–not told to tell.
“I don’t do clothes; I do stories”
Unconventional in the sense that Jacquemus was founded by a teenager who never received a formal education in fashion, did not intern with a fashion house, nor did he ever work beneath an established designer (unless a retail job at Commes des Garçon counts). The lack of formal training allows Jacquemus to be dictated by inspiration rather than convention, to the extent that he writes a film script before making the clothes, only then does he begin a collection.
A trip to Morocco marked the beginning of a collection titled, Le Souks, inspired by his aimless wondering around marketplaces. Jacquemus Fall 2018 RTW is the epitome of sensuality, foreign warmth and inclusivity. The collection was as diverse as the models wearing the garments; deconstructed tailoring, wide leg jumpsuits, cinched waists, nipple exposing sheer tops, backless slip dresses, larger than life hats juxtaposing with smaller than iPhone 8 purses. The front row, ridden with it girls sporting the classic geometric Jacquemus block heel, undoubtably began planning their next luxury vacation around Jacquemus’s collection.
Jacquemus communicates a story, but also the wonders of the female form, as the drapery and fit of the clothing speaks to the viewer—who cannot look away.
Jacquemus understands and utilizes the power of social media, so when the hashtag #NewJob began to circulate, the fashion community questioned where the designer would be headed. When an established house announces a creative director will be stepping down, fashion publication social media accounts and aesthetic coffee shops are plagued with the the discussion; who will be stepping up? The belief that Simon would be taking the reins of Céline were put to rest by Hedi Slimane’s announcement, but only deepened the wonder of what Jacquemus’ new job would entail. At the Le Souks, Jacquemus allowed a hoodie reading “New Home L’Homme Jacquemus” to answer everyone’s questions.
“There were a lot of rumours,” he said, laughing. “That I was going to Céline, that I was going to Versace. . . . Everyone thought I was going to another house but I’m staying at my own. You can have a new job even if it’s at your own house.”
Jacquemus is a modern Paris darling who cannot be ignored due to his poise, child-like spirit and bravado. At the age of 28, Jacquemus founds his own traditions to be engraved into the Parisian streets.
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