Why Jacquemus Menswear Is A Big Deal
Designer Simon Porte Jacquemus has finally confirmed his #newjob.
BY Asri Jasman | Feb 28, 2018 | Fashion
For the past month, Parisian-based fashion designer Simon Porte Jacquemus has been teasing his Instagram followers with #newjob and #newstart. Unintentional or not, they further fuelled the rumours that he was to replace Phoebe Philo at Céline. It would have been a sensible fit but as in all things fashion these days, the role at Céline has been officially taken up by Hedi Slimane.
At the finale of the Jacquemus autumn/winter 2018 runway show just this week, the designer took his bow clad in a brown hoodie bearing the words, “New job. L’homme Jacquemus”. And just like that, the industry darling has got us all buzzing in anticipation. While we wait for his menswear debut in June this year, here are the reasons why we’re excited and why you should take notice too.
He has never dabbled in menswear.
How is that reassuring, you may ask? Historically, fashion designers whose expertise lie in only one category and then embark in another, create debut collections that are very well-received. Hedi Slimane, Jonathan Anderson and Raf Simons are just some of the big names that started out doing only menswear before expanding their repertoire to include now well-loved womenswear collections. Belgian fashion designer and current creative director for Berluti Haider Ackermann spent 11 years working on womenswear only before presenting his first full men’s collection for spring/summer 2014.
Often times, designers have to rework the way they design in order to take up the challenge of designing for a different category. And the results are more often than not, above expectations. The exploration and experimentation with something Jacquemus is not particularly familiar with, could offer a fresh perspective.
He got Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe’s seal of approval.
After quitting Paris’ ESMOD International Fashion School after about two months, Jacquemus started staging guerrilla fashion presentations. Two years later, his third collection landed in a Tokyo showroom and got the attention of Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo.
In an interview with Paper magazine, Jacquemus recalled how he refused to back down after Adrian Joffe (Kawakubo’s husband and business partner) turned down his initial request for a job at a Comme des Garçons boutique. “He kind of tested me, I think. He wanted to see if I was sincere, what I had in my heart. And I was very serious,” Jacquemus went on to explain. He eventually did get a job as a sales associate and then used the opportunity to support himself financially while working on his designs at night.
Minimalism wasn’t a style reference for him
He might have been one of the favourites to replace Phoebe Philo at Céline but his minimalist designs were borne out of necessity rather than a conscious direction. It was also never about loving the works of Jil Sander or Martin Margiela—designers he claimed to not have heard of until much later. Moving to Paris for school and to pursue his fashion endeavours was a culture shock for Jacquemus. Money was tight and he had to figure out ways to make do with what he had. This meant having to forgo certain design details he deemed unnecessary in order to create pieces that he wanted. “I also said no pockets because pockets and buttons are very expensive. So minimalism was not a reference, it was because I had no money,” Jacquemus explained in an interview with SSENSE.
The Jacquemus brand is still independent.
There’s an incredibly satisfying boon to owning your own business—creative freedom. Because there’s no big conglomerate the likes of LVMH or Kering to answer to, Jacquemus has had the complete autonomy to do as he pleases. In fact, it could very well be why the brand has resonated well with fans. His collections to date have often been inspired by people and things that are personal to him. For spring/summer 2015, his late great-grandmother was the muse. And for spring/summer 2018, he took reference from a photograph of his late mother on a summer’s day in his village outside Marseille, France. After nine years and still a privately-owned business, one can’t help but agree that Jacquemus must be doing something right.
He was an LVMH Prize finalist. Twice.
And won the LVMH Special Jury Prize during his second entry in 2015. The jury for that particular year included fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Raf Simons, Nicolas Ghesquière and Jonathan Anderson. The finalists Jacquemus managed to stand out from? They’re not exactly under-the-radar either. Craig Green, Virgil Abloh and Vetement’s Demna Gvasalia were part of the seven other hopefuls in 2015. Pretty impressive for someone who didn’t complete his formal training.