Jacquemus READY-TO-WEAR FOR Fall 2023
One of the most famous fashion shows ever held took place in the Palace of Versailles in November of 1973. In order to pay for the palace’s restoration, the United States and France engaged in the Battle of Versailles. However, the city of Versailles benefited from more than simply financial revitalization. Today, on its grounds, Simon Porte Jacquemus put on a show that he hoped would introduce Versailles to the public in a new and exciting way.
The palace isn’t available for rent to just anybody. The designer remarked after the exhibition that today’s event was a year in the planning, and he added quite tantalisingly that it is “the beginning of a relationship with Versailles.”
CEO Bastien Daguzan recently stated in an interview that the runway show is part of a larger plan to better cement the approachable Jacquemus brand in the premium industry. The strategy calls for expanding the brand’s retail presence and promotional activities around the globe. This one gave the centuries-old palace an infusion of Jacquemus style, which was a nice bonus. “I think Versailles wanted to have me because my brand is really linked with the youth,” remarked the designer.
“We wanted to show that you can also have a date here or come and be in a boat and it can be beautiful,” Daguzan explained. We’re demonstrating to the youth of today that they can do so if they so want. Whether it’s a designer purse or a historic mansion, marketing is all about making the unattainable seem possible. That’s the Jacquemus trick: no matter how large, distant, or magnificent the goal, you’ll always feel like you’re close to achieving it.
Jacquemus had always wanted to demonstrate at the palace, so he brought his future spouse to Versailles for their first date. “A year ago I had a vision and sent an email to Bastien with two pictures of Versailles,” Jacquemus remarked after the presentation. “I told him I wanted boatloads of visitors to arrive and peruse the collection from the water.” And that’s exactly what ended up happening. Small, off-white bateaux brought guests to the runway, where models walked in front of us as the palace stood in the background. Putting up a show is something Jacquemus is really good at.
But why hold it outside if you have a mansion to stay in? “It was crucial that I not show up to Versailles with a sloppy sense of style,” Jacquemus explained. That’s why we’re in the middle of the forest and a good way from the castle. Being a part of the scenery rather than the treasure is also very Jacquemus. That helped him out a lot. Instead of trying to force his brand into Versailles, he took inspiration from the parts of the palace that already fit with his worldview, such as tributes to Marie Antoinette. There were parallels to the renowned (or notorious, depending on who you ask) queen’s love of theatrics and ballet in Jacquemus’s most design-driven collection in recent memory, as well as the utilitarian language Jacquemus regularly uses and, weirdly fittingly, tributes to Princess Diana.
Lady Di’s influence can be seen in the puffy and ruched silhouettes, polka dot dress, and “big rounded sleeves that,” he predicted, “will become a signature of Jacquemus.” Tutus were also utilised as petticoats and even little crinolines. (At this point, I feel obligated to mention Vivienne Westwood.) The collection’s flat mule shoes and rose pattern tights were inspired by ballet.
The collection, aptly named Le Chouchou, featured a lot of scrunched-up forms. According to Jacquemus, “everything was looking like a big chouchou,” which is French for “hair scrunchie,” so he came up with the term to give customers something “super precise” to remember the style by. They’ll recognize it as part of the Chouchou line and have fond memories of the puffy castle. His proficiency in selling is excellent.
The designer’s imaginative tailoring, which at times harkened back to his previous collections (even if the fit was a bit of a problem here), was the most interesting aspect of this show. Jackets were slashed and tightened at the waist to friskily fit the small crinolines, while some had one sleeve removed and gathered at the top, like the one he debuted at The Met earlier this year on Bad Bunny. Tutus reimagined as mini shorts and presented as puffy boxers bursting out from under men’s trousers were also a hoot; this was Jacquemus at his most genuine, providing a satirical take on royal garb.
However, the designer deserves credit for not resorting to standard, “Versailles-esque,” garb. Cage crinolines were reimagined as light tie-around tops and skirts, while panniers were completely absent. Jacquemus has a knack for interpreting and advancing internet trends, so don’t be put off by the chaotic mix of references. After this performance, it wouldn’t be strange to see Versailles-core join balletcore as a popular genre on TikTok.
This last week in Paris was a titanic struggle. Jacquemus maintains raising the bar in an industry that values excess and where presentation frequently takes precedence over actual garment quality. “There’s always the next story to tell,” he remarked. It’s not necessarily a matter of increasing size and force. It’s [just] something different. French designer/artist/entrepreneur Jacquemus. Today was a demonstration of the complementary nature of these seemingly incompatible points of view. This time around, there was no Battle of Versailles, only Jacquemus riding high on a victory lap of his own design.