Last season‘s Provençal dream is hard to beat. So, in a way, Simon Porte Jacquemus didn’t intend to make his autumn-winter 2020 even more extraordinary and Instagrammable. Not meaning it was modest or small – showing at La Defense stadium with Laetitia Casta, the Hadids and a pack of supermodels isn’t really a quiet gesture. But design-wise, Jacquemus returned to the core of his style: it’s sleeker, cleaner, less quirky, toned (except for the brief splash of bold pink). And incredibly sexy (without being vulgar): the body-conscious fit, cropped cardigans, wrapped micro-skirts, thigh-high boots are just some of the “hot” piece. Guys followed girls in pants, which appeared to have their flies open (a trompe l’oeil). There were oversized blazers and roomy coats for both women and men, creating a sense of concealed sensuality. While we all got used to Jacquemus’ sun-drenched, French flavor, it’s good to see designers go out of their (already succesful) comfort zones. The backstory behind the collection was as personal and profound as it could be: “I was seven when I made a skirt out of a curtain for my mother, and she brought me to school wearing it.” The linen pencil skirt, which opened the show on Casta, was a personal memento of that, and the reason the fabric was an anchor for the collection. But business-wise, Porte Jacquemus realized that he could use his buying power to change things with his fabric manufacturer. “We’ve been working with them for 10 years, but they didn’t have a sustainable fabric that we wanted. Now, they do – because of the size of the order I can make. But you know,” he said with a smile, “what I want to say is, it isn’t just for ecology, it’s also people—their rhythm of work also has to have sense. I don’t say I’m a green brand or anything like that; it’s not marketing. But I think we have to think more like my grandparents did: like, we have tomatoes in the garden, so we eat tomatoes.” Wise words for the industry to consider.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.