With his bright, hedonistic designs, Simon Porte Jacquemus has captured hearts and gained the admiration of the fashion industry since he founded his brand in 2009. The French designer discusses his upbringing and career path with Numéro.
Simon Porte Jacquemus, a native of the northern Marseille hamlet of Bramejean, has captured the hearts and admiration of the fashion industry with his energetic, sensual creations. He just launched a new store on Paris’s renowned Avenue Montaigne. He embraces humor, the poetry of his childhood landscapes, and the freedom of the body under the auspices of his independent label, Jacquemus. A self-made celebrity with a large following on social media, he spoke with Numéro about his sources of inspiration and his ascent to fame.
Simon Porte Jacquemus: My mother had a big impact on me growing up, and I’ve always loved fashion. She was the only person in the area with a very original dressing style. She would pick me up from school every day wearing these fantastic dresses. When I was little, I was frequently really bored. One day, I constructed a skirt from our living room’s linen curtains and a belt out of Converse laces to outfit my mother. I was the happiest child alive when she wore that! I’ve never stopped creating outfits for her since then. She is a massive inspiration to me.
How did being homosexual go down in the small rural village where you grew up?
I had a lot of energy, was smitten with garments, and desired to study fashion in Paris. I often talked about how I wanted to make clothes and forms for my grandma and mother. Being the lone homosexual boy in the school didn’t stop me from wanting to stand out more from the folks who teased and rejected me. With Skyblog and Myspace, I found solace on the Internet and shared images I took in our garage or garden. I have an intense obsession with fashion and have dreamed of owning my own line since I was young.
2011 saw you plan a Vogue Fashion Night Out event showcasing your cutting-edge take on fashion outside the conventions. In retrospect, what do you think of this somewhat disruptive gesture?
I will never forget it! When I was younger, my friends and I were willing to do everything to succeed in fashion and gain attention. Gaining entry into the Paris fashion scene looked unattainable during that period due to its restricted nature. Nothing was at risk for me! I hope that all young people share my drive and aspiration for achievement. I have nothing but good things to say about that evening. It allowed me to meet Emmanuelle Alt and Loïc Prigent, among others, and they have been a massive help to me ever since.
I had to honor the native way of life to perform in Hawaii. Le Splash was a pop line inspired by the sea and the sun’s splendor. It was apparent that the items should be made in Hawaii using local models and as authentic and natural a process as feasible. The runway was only a blue line—a modest gesture that honored the area and the surrounding environment. I was convinced the collection should flow naturally into those fantastic settings.
The identity of my brand and I are both influenced by the South of France. The vistas and landscapes I was raised with have always influenced my collections.
Following the humorous and ironic Hawaii collection, you declared you would adopt a more refined strategy. Is it a final decision, or will you always be able to use pop culture humor?
I wanted to return to something more sensual, romantic, and minimalist for my runway show in June, which is called Le Papier. It was also a love letter to my spouse, Marco Maestri. Pop colors and designs will be combined with simple, sensuous clothing for my upcoming exhibition, Le Raphia. Subversion and pop culture allusions will always be a part of my lexicon.
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of your company, you’ve held runway events in Marseille and a lavender field near Valensole. Do you feel compelled, as a native of the area, to provide a global audience with an alternative image of the South of France, one that is distinct from the tourist trappings of Nice, Saint-Tropez, and the Riviera?
The identity of my brand and I are both influenced by the South of France. The vistas and terrain I was raised in have always influenced my collecting. I must provide narratives connected to these allusions in my runway presentations and the kinds of pictures I share on social media, which are an integral part of the Jacquemus world.
It is crucial to keep these shapes alive for every season. I want to rework some pieces and make references to past Jacquemus collections. For me, it’s a necessary workout.
What do you suppose entices your customers? What comments have your sales team made to you?
I was trying to pinpoint exactly what my clients wanted to buy. I hope the Jacquemus world is characterized by cheerful, sensual, joyful energy and particular poetry that manifests in a grin or clothing movement.
When it opened in September, there was a queue around the block to get inside your new Avenue Montaigne store. Are you pleased with your accomplishment on a well-known avenue representing opulent Parisian style?
Indeed, I’m thrilled to have established a Jacquemus location on Montaigne Avenue. It seems unattainable for an independent designer to develop a presence alongside the titans of the luxury market. It’s a fantasy from youth. I’m really proud of the distance we’ve covered with our teams; it was a significant occasion for our clients and ourselves. I want to provide them with an entire Jacquemus experience in which they could explore the clothing, feel the materials, view the pieces of art that influenced me, and meander like they were in an art museum while munching on popcorn! That’s Jacquemus; you’re not just going to purchase clothing; you’re going to have an experience.
You’ve always stated that you want to be independent and operate under your name, yet many young designers start their labels hoping to land a job with a major corporation. How do you envision your brand evolving today?
I do want to continue being autonomous. That is crucial. I founded Jacquemus to develop my vision of fashion and explore freely with codes, shapes, and textiles. I would lose that independence working for a large fashion business.
- Simon Porte Jacquemus, the French designer, founded his label in 2009, gaining admiration for his vibrant and sensual creations.
- Jacquemus draws inspiration from the South of France, where he grew up, and his mother’s distinctive style.
- Despite challenges in his upbringing, including being the only homosexual boy in his school, Jacquemus pursued his passion for fashion, gaining recognition with disruptive events like the Vogue Fashion Night Out.
- To commemorate the tenth anniversary of his brand, Jacquemus held runway events in Marseille and a lavender field, emphasizing the importance of preserving the brand’s identity rooted in the South of France. He remains committed to independence and providing customers with a unique Jacquemus experience.