(L) Simon Porte Jacquemus and Daria Webowy for the Jacquemus x Lancome Campaign. (R) Coqueline Barriere and Andres Courreges, Manhattan, September 1968 by Pierre Schermann.
The ongoing trend in fashion as of late seems to favor austere, geometric minimalism. If it’s done right, it’s brilliant, however designers seems to default to the ease and simplicity of the minimalist style in place of inventiveness and creativity. The resulting collections are often clinical, reductive and generally pretty boring. The same can’t be said of young French designer, Simon Porte Jacquemus, who designs under the label Jacquemus. While Jacquemus designs may be quintessentially minimal, they’re devoid of the severe and solemn tone that plagues most designers creating minimalist collections. Jacquemus is perennially inspired by France, French culture and French women, who he sees as having an almost childlike naiveté and joie de vivre. It is the spirit of this woman that he aims to capture in his collections.
Among his chief inspirations are the pillars of playful French design, Pierre Cardin and André Courrèges. Cardin and Courrèges pioneered the hyper-futuristic space age look during the 60s that came to define French fashion for the decade. Looking at Jacquemus’ work, particularly his last two collections, “La Femme Enfant” (A/W 2014) and “La Grande Motte” (S/S 2014), Cardin and Courrèges’ influence is undeniable. For Cardin, Courrèges, and Jacquemus alike, their work offers a futuristic look that is not dystopic and bleak but one that’s imagined through the exuberant eyes of a child. While Jacquemus’ “La Femme Enfant” collection is minimalist indeed, the boxy, geometric shapes are so exaggerated they're almost reminiscent of childhood toys; the plush texture of the fabrics is like Play-Doh. The sportiness of “La Grande Motte” was inspired by the simple pleasures of the working class summer beach destinations in the south of France––playing tennis, eating ice cream, enjoying the sun. The collections are unpretentious and never devoid of colour, an influence of Courrèges' and Cardin's, no doubt.
Jacquemus designs for the modern girl who wants to have fun with clothing and take it all a little less seriously. Nostalgia is definitely a theme of his designs but it never feels dated. Strung together, Jacquemus’ collections tell the story the joy and playfulness of French culture that he admires and cherishes so deeply.
(L) Courrèges, 1971. (R) Jacquemus S/S 2014 "La Grande Motte" backstage by Lea Colombo for Dazed Digital.
(L) Jacquemus A/W 2014 "La Femme Enfant" Lookbook. (R) Courrèges, 1960s.
(L) Courrèges, 1964. (R) Lily McMenamy in Jacquemus S/S 2014 "La Femme Enfant" for Document Journal.
(L) Lera Tribel in Jacquemus S/S 2014 by Clement Pascal for U+MAG. (R) Courrèges, 1960s.
(L) Diana Ross in Courrèges, 1966. (R) Jacquemus A/W 2014 "La Femme Enfant".
(L) Jacquemus A/W 2013 "La Piscine". (R) Pierre Cardin, early 70s.
(L) Pierre Cardin, 1971. (R) Jacquemus A/W 2014 "La Femme Enfant" backstage from Novembre Magazine.
(L) Jacquemus A/W 2014 "La Femme Enfant" Lookbook. (R) Pierre Cardin, 1960s.
(L) Pierre Cardin, 1972. (R) Jacquemus S/S 2014 "La Grande Motte" Lookbook.
(L) Jacquemus A/W 2014 "La Femme Enfant" Backstage. (R) Pierre Cardin, 1972.