Identifying Simon Porte Jacquemus as a designer who is set to affect the landscape of menswear might seem like a shot in the dark: after all he will not present his first menswear collection until June 25 – shortly after this issue is published. But
L’Uomo Vogue is willing to bet that he will. And if the men’s clothes of this 28-yearold French prodigy have even a sliver of the impact of his womenswear, then we’ll win big.
Raised in a small village in the South of France, Jacquemus made his first skirt at age 7 and wrote to Jean Paul Gaultier to apply for a job as a stylist at age 12. He moved to Paris for fashion school at 19, but after the sudden death of his mother, Valerie, he decided to seize the day, drop out of school and start his label – initially working shifts on the shop floor at Comme des Garçons to stay solvent.
His sexy, irreverent, nostalgic womenswear collections often channel the memory of his mother – whose surname his collection is named after – and pay homage to his design idol Christian Lacroix. It’s a combination that has proved catnip to young female consumers.
Jacquemus revels in conventional, romantic quirkiness – his shoes come with mismatched heels and his jackets and dresses with oversized buttons – and it will be interesting to see to what extent he translates those quixotic tics when making his menswear debut this summer.
Mark Holgate, US Vogue Fashion News Director and long time Jacquemus observer, says:“Simon is a bubbling mix of charm, single-mindedness, playfulness and determination – and he’s kind of eccentric too. How it’s going to play out in the menswear I have no idea, but it will be fascinating to see. He’s smart about the business, but he’s not strategically cynical – he’s coming into menswear because he has a passion to do it. I think he really gets what it means to be a designer in 2018, as well as what it means to be French.”
And what does it mean to be French? Certainly, in menswear, it hasn’t meant cool – really cool – arguably since Hedi Slimane’s Dior Homme. If anyone is going to reset that, it is going to be Jacquemus.