Guests at the Jacquemus show in the hilltop village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence in the South of France found an unexpected gift with their invitation: a miniature sweater designed to be slung across the shoulders, preppy-style.
In a teaser film, actress Kristin Davis — aka Park Avenue princess Charlotte York Goldenblatt in “Sex and the City” and follow-up series “And Just Like That…” — is shown unpacking the shawl to an ironic ASMR soundtrack.
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“It was a way to have fun with the quiet luxury trend,” Simon Porte Jacquemus explained before the show at the Fondation Maeght, an art foundation filled with statues by the likes of Alberto Giacometti and Joan Miró.
By his own admission, Jacquemus is anything but quiet luxury. “We are pop luxury,” said the designer, who’s known for his sensual Mediterranean aesthetic drenched in vibrant color.
With Monday’s display, he stirred together many of his signature ingredients: a cinematic location (the weather was obligingly perfect) and a host of celebrity guests, led by Julia Roberts, beaming in a black tailored coatdress with subtly rounded sleeves.
“That was so stunning,” the actress said as she congratulated Jacquemus after the show.
Jenna Lyons went bold with a black pantsuit with inflated proportions. “I feel like a sculpture,” the former J. Crew creative director and “Real Housewife” declared. Meanwhile, Davis played against type with a lemon yellow oversized suit.
“I love Jacquemus and they’re always sending it to work and I always want to wear it, but it’s not really very Charlotte,” she lamented. “It’s nice to be able to do something where it’s a little less Charlotte, and more something that I might be enjoying.”
Kylie Jenner and her daughter Stormi Webster, wearing matching red outfits, joined rappers Aminé and Jack Harlow in the front row. But what followed was one of the designer’s most restrained collections to date, signaling a more upscale direction for his 15-year-old brand.
Gigi Hadid opened the show in a cream croc-embossed trenchcoat with a scooped neckline, followed by Emily Ratajkowksi in a black shirtdress with bulging hips that swamped her diminutive frame.
“I’ve never said ‘bourgeois’ in 15 years in fashion, but this time I wanted something so bourgeois and at the same time, an opposite idea: the artist,” Jacquemus said.
On his mood board were icons of French style such as Catherine Deneuve in “Belle de Jour” and Isabelle Adjani in “Subway,” alongside Giacometti in his lived-in suit and Salvador Dalí, in an oddly ladylike leopard-skin coat.
Giacometti’s elongated figures were echoed in pencil-thin jersey column dresses, while jackets and shirts came with Surrealist details like stand-away collars or amplified waistbands. There was an equestrian undercurrent to some of the looks, like black riding pants worn with a bandeau top, or dresses sprouting tiny black tails.
Jacquemus said he paid close attention to the fabrications, from the sweaters with sleeves that knotted across the chest to the shoes with trompe-l’oeil double heels. With that, he wanted to address critics that suggest he’s all image. “I do have products, I do have beautiful factories in Italy,” he insisted.
As usual, a selection of items were available to order online immediately after the show. An Obra trenchcoat in faux leopard is priced at 2,390 euros, while the double sandals in leopard and fuchsia retail for 850 euros.
Jacquemus said he wasn’t worried about alienating the aspiring luxury consumers who have snapped up his Chiquito handbags and bucket hats.
“I think it’s going to be super natural, this next journey for Jacquemus. I still want to keep the relation I have with my customer and the audience because it’s who I am. I always have in mind when I design also the price. It’s my balance between the entrepreneur and the designer,” he said.
A hands-on leader involved in every aspect of his business, he’s so far held out against joining forces with one of the industry giants, aside from a brief flirtation with Spanish fragrance and fashion giant Puig.
And despite a cryptic post in December captioned “Chez Hubert de Givenchy,” he shut down speculation that he might join the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned French luxury house, which is without a creative director following the departure of Matthew M. Williams. “No. I have a big house to take care of,” he demurred.
Rather, he was paying tribute to Givenchy’s impeccable taste in interior design. “The way he did everything was so modern,” said Jacquemus, who snapped up a Picasso and a Miró from the Christie’s sale of the late couturier’s estate in 2022.
With a steadily growing art collection of his own, and plans to open his first permanent stores overseas, Jacquemus clearly hopes to join the pantheon of legendary French designers. And while he may lack the aristocratic elegance of Givenchy, he has vision and perseverance to spare, like another one of his role models, Pierre Cardin.
“What I want to achieve in my life is to make the company better and better, not bigger and bigger,” he said. “I know what I’m selling right now at the shop, but I still need to dream because I dream big.”
Launch Gallery: Jacquemus RTW Spring 2024
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