January 30, 2023

At his show outside Paris on Monday, designer Simon Porte Jacquemus drew a star-studded crowd that included Blackpink singer Jennie, actors Vincent Cassel and Pamela Anderson, and reality TV personality Christine Quinn.

In a twist on the old movie trick, bits of raffia snowballed from the ceiling to create a surreal summer in winter. It was a suitable backdrop for the lineup of sexy, sunny ensembles – many of which are being readied for purchase in December as part of the brand’s ‘see now, buy now’ strategy.

It’s no surprise that Jacquemus would lean on cinematic tactics for his latest outing — the designer’s memorable catwalks, which include romps through lavender fields and otherworldly salt mines, have made him one of French fashion’s favorite showmen.

The social media-savvy designer has often put his own backstory and personality at the center of his work: whether it’s his strong ties to the South of France, a sun-soaked romance with his boyfriend (now husband), or his boyish sense of humour. (He teased the show by making fun of Instagram Sunday and telling his audience of 5.2 million followers that “Tomorrow’s show will be my last… of the year!” Ha.)

This season, however, the designer did his best to stay out of the picture by mining the codes of Jacquemus, the brand, rather than animating the collection with another story about Jacquemus, the man. The giant straw hats, sunflowers, geometric motifs and twisted asymmetrical tops from previous seasons all returned. To mock the brand’s own commercial success, the popular $100 sun bob was deconstructed and made into ruffled tops.

“I didn’t want to tell another story about myself. We wanted to refer to our own history as a house would,’ Jacquemus said.

Instagram-addicted customers who populate chic summer destinations from Capri to Mykonos – and whose style vocabulary of big hats and small bags is often inspired by Jacquemus’ summer collections – became a major source of inspiration for the show themselves, as the brand looked for ways to make a … to give a fresh twist to strappy sandals, straw bags and big earrings. “That girl who is a bit over the top, we wanted to sublimate her. We wanted to have fun with our own codes,” said Jacquemus.

The self-referential collection was a clever exercise for Jacquemus: while the brand’s success has often been fueled by its charismatic founder, the label is gradually becoming an institution in its own right. This year it opened its first store, on the iconic Avenue Montaigne in Paris (birthplace of luxury brand Christian Dior), and attracted its first external CEO (longtime consultant Bastien Daguzan), as it aims to grow annual sales of around €200 million euros this year to more than €500 million by 2025. (In an interview with BoF in September, Jacquemus revealed his financial figures for the first time since 2016.)

“We wanted to refer to our own history, history like a House would.”

A pragmatist as well as a dreamer, Jacquemus has adapted his business model to turn the kind of online buzz generated by today’s show into direct sales. seasons.

Other companies have tried and abandoned the approach, closing the gap between hosting shows and selling collections that many brands use to build momentum through celebrity placements, editorial shoots, and advertising. It also requires a brand to hold sales meetings with retailers behind closed doors and design the next collection while preparing to showcase the previous one.

But tailoring shows to the sales season has boosted social media conversions, Jacquemus said. Of the brand’s €102 million turnover last year, 39 percent came from the brand’s online flagship.

“We are such a big brand on Instagram, it was not possible to show something that is not for sale for six months. The audience was very confused,” said Jacquemus. “As a creative, it’s super hard to make something and not show it, then go back to it six months later. But as an owner it’s super good because more people wear Jacquemus.”

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