Paris, as a fashion capital, stakes much of its clout on grande dame couture houses and century-old ateliers. Simone Porte Jacquemus, the designer behind the line Jacquemus (christened as a tribute to his late mother; it was her maiden name), is young, just 25. A nominee of the inaugural LVMH Young Designer Award, Jacquemus left a job in retail at a Comme des Garçons boutique to work full-time on his collections, and is countering the French city’s reputation for history-soaked opulent luxury with a fresh, subversive, youthquake spirit.
“I’m not super, super attracted by clothes. It’s more of a story,” explains the designer. Since his Spring 2013 debut at Paris Fashion Week, Jacquemus has woven some immersive stories: a raucous arcade rave for Fall ’13; an ice cream-colored collection, inspired by La Grande-Motte, the geometric midcentury resort on France’s southern coast, for Spring ’14, presented poolside. The clothes themselves—minimalistic creations in simple geometric shapes, saturated colors, and no-fuss fabrics like cotton twill, carried by Dover Street Market, Opening Ceremony, and Maryam Nassir Zadeh—have let his whimsical vision do the talking.
“Un peu simple and naïve,” is how Porte Jacquemus describes his girl, and his Fall 2014 collection, which walked yesterday at the Palais de Tokyo, thoroughly explored the sensation of childlike wonder. “People have to be more curious,” he said. Titled, “La Femme Enfant,” (also the name of the 1980 Klaus Kinski drama), yesterday’s collection drew attendees into his world, putting out translucent hospital gowns with amorphous yellow and orange spots. A succession of sculptural, over-sized color-blocked coats, dresses, and separates with sheer tulle insets, streamlined in silhouette, but spiked with boundless energy in powder blue, electric cobalt, orange, yellow, and navy, and accented with spotted appliqués, underlined Porte Jacquemus’ trademark charm and caprice. He’s not taking fashion too seriously, and that’s something we can get behind, wholeheartedly.