At his show outside Paris on Monday, designer Simon Porte Jacquemus drew a star-studded crowd that included Blackpink singer Jennie, actors Vincent Cassel and Pamela Anderson and reality TV personality Christine Quinn.
In a twist on the old movie trick, pieces of raffia snowed from the ceiling to create a surreal summer in winter. It was a fitting backdrop for the line-up of sexy, sun-kissed ensembles – many of which will be made available for purchase in December as part of the brand’s ‘see-now, buy-now’ strategy.
That Jacquemus would rely on cinematic tactics for his latest outing is no surprise – the designer’s memorable runways, including romps through lavender fields and otherworldly salt mines, have made him one of French fashion’s favorite showmen.
The social media-savvy designer has often centered his own story and personality in his work: be it his strong ties to the South of France, a sunny romance with his boyfriend (now husband) or his boyish humor. (He teased the show by pranking Instagram on Sunday, telling his audience of 5.2 million followers that “Tomorrow’s show will be my last … for the year!” Ha.)
This season, however, the designer made an effort to stay outside the box, extracting the codes of Jacquemus, the brand, rather than animating the collection with another story about Jacquemus, the man. The giant straw hats, sunflowers, geometric motifs and twisted asymmetric tops of previous seasons returned. Its popular €100 sun bob was deconstructed and worked into tousled tops, while wondering about the brand’s own commercial success.
“I didn’t want to tell another story about myself. We wanted to reference our own history as a maison would, Jacquemus said.
Instagram-addicted customers who populate glamorous summer destinations from Capri to Mykonos—and whose style vocabulary of big hats and tiny bags have often been inspired by Jacquemus’ summery collections—became a key inspiration for the show themselves, as the brand looked for a way. to put a new spin on strappy sandals, straw bags and large earrings. “The girl who is a little over-the-top, we wanted to sublimate her. We wanted to have fun with our own codes, Jacquemus said.
The self-referential collection was a savvy exercise for Jacquemus: while the brand’s success has often been driven by its charismatic founder, the brand is gradually becoming an institution in its own right. This year it opened its first store, on Paris’s iconic Avenue Montaigne (birthplace of luxury ür institution Christian Dior), as well as bringing in its first external CEO (long-time advisor Bastien Daguzan), as it aims to grow annual sales from around 200 million euros this year to over 500 million euros in 2025. (In an interview with BoF in September, Jacquemus revealed his finances for the first time since 2016.)
“We wanted to refer to our own history, history in the same way as one maison wanted.”
Jacquemus is as much a pragmatist as a dreamer, but has adapted his business model to turn the kind of online buzz generated by today’s shows into direct sales, sticking to a “see-now, buy-now” strategy that makes runway collections instant available for purchase since five seasons.
Other companies have tried and abandoned the approach, which eliminates the gap between staging shows and selling collections that many brands use to build momentum through celebrity placements, editorial shoots and advertising. It also requires a brand to hold sales meetings with retailers behind closed doors, and to design the next collection while preparing to stage it before.
But customizing the shows after the sales season has helped boost conversions from social media, Jacquemus said. Of the brand’s €102 million in sales last year, 39 percent came from the brand’s online flagship.
“We’re such a big brand on Instagram, it wasn’t possible to show something that wasn’t available for sale for six months. The audience was very confused,” Jacquemus said. “As a creative, it’s super hard to make something and not show it , and then 6 months later go back to it. But as an owner, it’s great because more people are wearing Jacquemus.”