Jacquemus Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Paris Fashion Week

Jacquemus Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Paris Fashion Week

The first day of Paris Fashion Week is suddenly all action. If you don’t arrive in time for Tuesday’s roster of young talent, you risk not knowing how the future might take shape—and that’s a new phenomenon here. What you really want to see are designers who reach the point where they are articulating something about themselves while also giving the world glimpses of something specifically and inimitably French. With his Spring collection, Simon Porte Jacquemus rose to that level with a collection he’d gleaned from Provençal folk culture. That was natural for him, as a boy who’s constantly inspired by his childhood in the sunny South of France, but it also put him on a path connected back to Christian Lacroix’s shawl-collared, puff-sleeved, peasant-inspired heyday during the high ’80s of Parisian haute couture—with perhaps a touch of the theatrical smoky atmosphere that used to pervade Jean Paul Gaultier’s shows in the same decade.

All that constitutes a welcome discovery for 20-somethings: a nostalgia risen with the blooming of shoulders and shortening of skirts, a comeback strangely synchronous with the styles once sported by the first Mrs. Trump almost 30 years ago. There’s current context here: It was Demna Gvasalia who first came up with the dramatically padded shoulder at Vetements, of course. As it happened, he was a front row guest today, drawn as a friend to see what was to come from this emerging talent. What’s different is Jacquemus’s sources come from someplace else. He is not one of those designers pretending to be underground-edgy or ironic à la Vetements. His talent has an aura of sincere naïveté and idealism, tinged with a slightly melancholic romance.

So there was a big fake orange sun glowing at the end of the runway as Jacquemus’s fresh-cheeked, incredibly pretty girls walked out under huge traditional circular straw hats. Their clothes steadily proved how Jacquemus’s repertoire has widened. He cut wide pinstripe pants with deep cuffs, fit and flare linen coats, pencil skirts with asymmetric fan pleating, and numerous examples of the shirting he’s made a business out of—now with voluminous sleeves.

What’s clever is this didn’t feel like a lurch into new territory for this designer; it was more like a continuation of his own narrative. The signatures he’s put down since his beginnings are still there—oversize buttons, shoes with geometric blocks for heels, the shirting—but most of all, the faithfulness he has to designing for his own generation, at prices they might be able to attain. You felt all of that going on at Jacquemus, and that’s great for Paris.

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