Simon Porte Jacquemus is on the LVMH Prize short list this year. He’s made it to the semifinal round after landing a spot on the finalist list last year. With the judging scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday, the deconstructed, surrealist, shoeless, NSFW collection he showed tonight was either a flip-off to the jurors or a come-on. Whichever, it definitely won’t go unnoticed. Not when the first model out was topless, save for the outline of a tank painted above her breasts, and faceless, thanks to a featureless paper mask, wearing pants so stiff and oversized they could’ve walked off without her.

From season to season, Jacquemus has bopped from commercial-mindedness to conceptualism. Such unpredictably isn’t entirely a surprise: He is all of 25, after all, and he never finished design school. After the pop and humor of Jacquemus’ beachy Spring show, tonight’s collection landed firmly in the conceptual camp. Explaining that he wanted to recapture some of the instinctual feel of being a child, the designer said: “I cut jackets like little kids will do—sometimes the cut is weird, there is just a half top. I like this randomness.”

Jacquemus came up into the business via Comme des Garçons—he worked at the label’s Paris store as recently as 2013. With this collection’s porthole and strap construction, the shirtsleeves sewn onto the front of a dress, and the general askewness of the clothes, this outing definitely had its avant-garde antecedents in the work of Rei Kawakubo. Rei had the shock of the new going for her, though; Jacquemus does not. Add up the one-leg pants and the bared breasts, and what you got today was a collection that felt too effortful on the one hand, and not polished enough on the other. That said, there were a few pieces that rose above the silliness of a look that sandwiched a model between two giant felt cutouts of hands. A curvy dress and a very belle poitrine coat, both of which spilled off the shoulders, signaled that a grown-up Jacquemus is lurking behind the cutup.

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