L’Amour. Jacquemus SS21

After weeks of digital presentations, Jacquemus‘ spring-summer 2021 IRL show was a truly heart-warming sight. An audience of 100 guests – mainly French press, house friends and family of Simon Porte Jacquemus – were ferried to a gently rolling wheat field near Us in the French Vexin Regional National Park, about an hour outside Paris. After hundreds of Instagram posts, you surely know what the venue looked like. It was a visual dream, a bit like a more sober sister of last year’s lavender field fantasy. Before the lockdown hit France, the designer had been in touch with the dancer Alexander Ekman. Needless to say, everything changed at that point, but the reference remained. During a pre-show interview, Jacquemus said he wanted his collection to talk of love and celebration, “like a simple country wedding or a harvest festival.” Ultimately, he named the collection “L’Amour,” a declaration of love for his team and updated it with Provençal references such as hand-made ceramics, grandmother’s tablecloth and berry picking (actual strawberries were inside Aaron Altaras’ basket-bag). The collection itself was quintessentially Jacquemus: a variety of dresses that channel the Southern French girl, made in all sizes; for boys, Picasso-meet-Miro motifs and cut-out hearts on over-sized tailoring. A toned, sun-washed  palette of clay and ecru looked summer-perfect, although I must admit I love Jacquemus most when he’s induldging in bolder colours. As usual, accessories are the sure best-sellers: fun earrings (a bar of Marseille soap!), leather accessories like a harness for a single plate, or the new Chiquito Noeud, a variation on the house bestseller. Last year, Simon dialed down to two shows per year, and this decision was definitely a good one. It’s not only a sustainable step, but it also lets the designer execute his vision to the fullest. And a live show is a live show, after all. “For me, the runway can’t be a video. It’s at the heart of what we do; it’s not superficial. It’s important to all of us to continue, just like a restaurant that reopens. It’s like a movie of a summer day. It’s our life.” That’s an inspiring dose of optimism for the uncertain times.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Saint Tropez

Everybody’s heard of Saint Tropez, but the stereotype we all know is quite misleading. It’s imagined to be a sort of place you learn about through the amniotic murk – an iconic coastal town barnacled with Mediterranean hedonism. But to be honest, in fact this place is rather calm and peaceful. At least off-season. With its rolling countryside, long, golden beaches, and breathtaking light, Saint-Tropez is one of the French Riviera’s most gorgeous destinations. This picturesque peninsula on the Côte d’Azur still embraces its history as a quiet fishing village and artists’ enclave – it lured painters such as Henri Matisse long before it was made famous by legendary beauty Brigitte Bardot, who has called it a “little nook of paradise.” Here are the two places I’ve especially loved in this town:

The Dior Villa. If you read my site for a while, then you know I’m not a Dior person (especially Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior). But somehow, in Saint Tropez, it all clicked – the intricately embroidered eveningwear, the pearl jewellery, the glassware… this is the French way. And of course loved the delightfully furnished store, which as well serves coffee in its yard.

13 Rue François Sibilli

Lots of huge, old cypress trees and yes, Brigitte Bardot is everywhere…

L’Atelier 55 specialises in vintage, restored design and it has a branch of stores located in Paris, Megève and other French destinations. Their boutique in Saint Tropez is kept in matching, Mediterranean style and its filled with original 1960s posters, Pierre Jeanneret armchairs and plates illustrated by Jean Cocteau. The staff here knows pretty much everything about 20th century French design, so you can always treat this place like a sort of encyclopedia. And if you’re planning to move to Saint Tropez… you know where to get your furniture!

29 Boulevard Louis Blanc

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All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Èze / Côte D’Azur

In craggy cliffs high above the sea, the medieval village of Èze is a delightful step back in time. The well-preserved stone buildings, winding alleyways, 14th-century chapels, and dramatic Mediterranean backdrop make this tiny village seem like a movie set. The views are best earned by taking one of the many hiking trails, like the famous Nietzsche path, that connect the the town and the summit, which sits 1,400 feet above sea level. At the top, you’ll discover the town’s medieval fortress, which you may recognize from Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief”, surrounded by the Jardin Exotique, a desert garden brimming with succulents and exotic florals. The wonderful sea breeze is another reason to get up here!

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Saint Paul De Vence / Côte d’Azur

As you go north from Antibes, a place you have to visit is Saint-Paul de Vence. In this village located at the top of a hill, you should of course see the Fondation Maeght (a separate post on this art oasis is coming up shortly!). If you want to continue with the art path, why not see the authentic Matisse or Picasso at the legendary La Colombe d’Or? You can find it in the heart of Saint-Paul: it’s a real secret garden with original works given to the owner by the artists as payments for meals. It’s worth giving the village around an hour if you’re by car: its centre is overcrowded with touristic “art galleries” and restaurants, so the most important is the postcard-like, medieval, stone architecture that seems to be untouched by time.

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Antibes / Côte d’Azur

Back in January, we also had a dreamy road trip around the French Riviera. Beyond the yachts and picture-perfect beaches, Antibes is a draw for its literary and artistic history. It was at the Villa Saint Louis (now the popular hotel Belles-Rives) on the Cap d’Antibes that F. Scott Fitzgerald took up summer residence with Zelda and his daughter Scottie in 1926 and began his work on Tender is the Night. The enclosed mansions and dramatic villas lining the shore that once fascinated Fitzgerald are still very much a part of the landscape, but there’s local charm to be found, too. Stroll around old Antibes, through the Cours Masséna, a Provençal food market (don’t forget to buy a mimosa bouquet and supply yourself with home-made soap!), and up to the Musée Picasso, the first museum dedicated to the artist. Outside the market, local artists showcase paintings, sculptures and other pieces every day except Monday. Also worth a stop-off is the Chapelle St Bernardin, a gorgeous little Gothic church built in the 16th century, complete with an impressively intricate fresco. Antibes is known for its breezy, postcard-like beaches – head to Plage du Salis, with its velvet-soft white sand and views of the Cap d’Antibes (where we stayed throughout our trip – there are plenty of small, charming boutique hotels that aren’t Hotel du Cap Eden Roc…).

The Musée Picasso in Antibes is a small museum dedicated to the work of Pablo Picasso, who lived in the French Riviera for a large part of his life. The museum is housed in the Grimaldi Castle, a medieval fortress on the Antibes waterfront, and certainly benefits from such an outstanding location.The collection of the museum includes over 200 works by Picasso, including drawings, ceramics, etchings, carpets, and six paintings. Some of those artworks were donated to the town of Antibes by Picasso himself, who installed his atelier on the upper level of the castle for about six months in 1946. The permanent exhibition dedicated to Picasso also includes a number of historical photographs depicting the Spanish artist at work in Antibes. Along with presenting pieces by Picasso, the museum also accommodates a small permanent exhibition of works by other major modern artists, such as Balthus, Alexander Calder, Max Ernst and Amedeo Modigliani among others.

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All photos by Edward Kanarecki.