What was the first Jacquemus show you remember occupying your mind? Was it Spring 2019 in the infamous lavender field, with that stretching pink carpet? Fall 2020 where Gigi Hadid's viral hair flip became the focal point of Instagram for almost a week? Was it Spring 2020 in the wheat fields with the bed, or the burgeoning bridal collection on the salt mountain for Fall 2022? Simon Porte Jacquemus has been putting on shows for a decade, and as the Jacquemus brand (and budget) has grown, so has Porte Jacquemus' ideas. Location shows have become a signature spectacle for the designer. Always off-schedule, always intended to be experiential, and often in nature, as is the Jacquemus way. It is no surprise, these days, when Porte Jacquemus takes to his Instagram to tease the next location of the show one or two weeks out. It has become intrinsic to the way we know and interact with the brand, understanding that to consume the Jacquemus brand is to partially live in Simon's world, one that treads the line between access and aspiration season after season.
For the Jacquemus Fall 23 show, this couldn't have felt more evident with a setting like Versailles. Fashion is written into the lore of the palace, beyond Marie Antoinette, and most memorably for the battle of Versailles in 1973, where a troupe of the worlds most notable French and American designers put on a runway battle in the palace. But Jacquemus' show was not in the palace, which was a decision that felt fitting for the Maison. It was set on the grass quite a ways from the 17th century structure, along meterage of red carpet that acted as the runway, guests arriving in cream bateaux boats that docked next to the stretch of red to watch the spectacle.
Then the clothes. Swapping out some of the codes we know the brand for best: raffia and linens for lace and new interpretations of volume. The show is entitled LE CHOUCHOU, based off of the name of the scrunchies the brand already offers, this was the starting point for the oversized silhouettes on the runway. Elsewhere, by way of inspiration, Porte Jacquemus was most inspired not by Marie Antoinette, but by Lady Diana, poufy 80s shoulders and all. Diana was also mirrored in the palette, which Jacquemus carefully selected as bright white, red, and navy, accented with some of her notable style moments throughout the years, like the famous necklace she wore with her 'revenge dress', a slouchy V-neck red knit sweatshirt, and polka dot party dresses.
On-the-nose regality was traded for ballet influences, replacing obvious and costume-y cage crinolines and panniers with more subtle explorations of proportion and volume. There were lace tops that tied together at the front like something you'd find under a regency ballgown, and gathered miniature bloomers in pink, red, white and navy. The tulle one would usually find underneath a baroque gown was shirred to the thighs, adding to the theme, and displaying Porte Jacquemus' knack for keeping his finger on the pulse. He did this well, riffing on the significance of the location, but not leaning fully into theatrics; riffing on current trends, but finding ways for them to individuate and endure when we inevitably turn our attention to the next thing; riffing on himself and his codes while growing the ideas of the House and pushing towards brand elevation; riffing on a singular idea and direction to create a memorable collection.
There was a lot that could have felt out of place for a collection like this, and Porte Jacquemus seemed to skirt around these issues with grace and enthusiasm. After all, this is a man who loves "blue and white, stripes, sun, fruits, life, poetry, Marseille and the 80s." How could it have gone any other way?