Personal writing (March 2015)
A drums, timbales, and birds symphony set the scene for what was to be the Jacquemus AW15 show at Paris Fashion Week. Entitled L’enfant du Soleil, which translates literally into the sun’s child, this collection saw the rising “enfant terrible” of the Paris set casting his gaze to Africa and beyond. The young French up and coming designer Simon Porte did not let us down in presenting the perfect pairing of simplicity and originality.
Taking French film director Michel Gondry’s work as the main inspiration, from the very first moment we were reminded that this was not the usual fashion show but more so a magnetising artistic performance. The models strutted barefoot through the runway, nudity being the main common factor amongst them. In this day and age, where censorship is still present in social media Simon Porte decided to showcase the models in its purest form: showing their nipples, their chests or their whole trunks. Undoubtedly, the nipple was indeed “freed” in this collection. The sense of naturalness of the female body as a way of expressing ourselves was intrinsic to the show, whilst retaining the innocence of childhood.
But this was not the only element of surprise: the structured yet child-like cut coats and dresses were completed by thought provoking make-up and paper masks. German artist Sebastian Bieniek contributed his signature fragmented double-face make up, which I can’t help but associate with the iconoclastic make up that Paul Monroe did to his wife, the great Greer Lankton, in 1985.
The simple colour palette of khaki greens, sand browns and black and white as the main actors evoked nature, exquisitely accompanied by ring and loop metal ornaments in red, silver and brown. As the show unfolded we were introduced to majestic black bodycon dresses, one-legged flared trousers and maxi skirts; timeless pieces with immaculate tailoring and indescribable character. These earth colours made an appearance through indigenous ensembles made up from skirts and bandeaus in khaki greens and browns. Clown-like maxi trousers with red hop buttonholes and sand braces that recall our childhood, while angelical French little girls’ voices recited verses along the flamboyant African music, were also part of the show. And as if the almost collaged outfits were not experimental enough, the collection additionally includes hands scarfs that hug the models’ bodies and hand-shaped loose dresses.
The ethereal depiction of the primitiveness through the clothing and the raw theatricality of the performance, pronounce this collection as an artistic milestone within the last decade fashion shows. The asymmetric composing, exalted oversizing and intricate panelling surely set this show apart. Porte’s own entrance to the catwalk mirrored the sobriety and elegance displayed throughout his collection; wearing no shoes, he summoned the spirit of nature and carelessness. Creativity at its best, it is undeniable that Jacquemus’ take on culture and heritage through monochrome minimalist clothing is clever and evocative.