Down Memory (and Lavender) Lane: Jacquemus’ Top 5 Runway Moments, Ahead of Its Anniversary Show in Capri

MILAN — If Instagram were a fashion designer, it would be Simon Porte Jacquemus.

If one needed further proof of the French designer’s visual mastery and power of engagement, a quick virtual trip to the Jacquemus feed would serve as evidence, underscored by a carousel marking the countdown to the brand’s upcoming 15th anniversary show in Capri on Monday.

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Announcing the label’s arrival on the Italian island — replete with a store opening for the occasion — creative short clips sell a charming, fun twist on La Dolce Vita lifestyle attuned with the French designer’s ironic tone. From a young man ironing a shirt while on a paddleboard in the sea to a woman taking the local funicular to carry her exaggerated pile of Jacquemus boxes and shopping bags to the iconic Piazzetta, the videos inventively fuel buzz already surrounding the event.

Why the clamor? Perhaps due to Jacquemus’ long and solid track record of mining extraordinary locations to serve picture-perfect, cinematic runway shows. While his fashion might have raised an eyebrow or two over the years, there’s no denying Jacquemus embodies the archetype of the fashion designer 2.0: less couturier, more image-maker. By his own admission, he has always been more interested in telling stories that just making clothes. The fact that he found such a precise, immediate, in-tune-with-the-time and therefore effective language to tell them is a key driver of his success.

The self-taught designer’s communicative energy traces back to his beginnings, when he dropped out of fashion school at the age of 19, prompted by his mother’s untimely death and stirred up the attention with a street happening in front of Dior during Paris Fashion Week.

Jacquemus RTW Fall 2023
Jacquemus, fall 2023

Ever since, he gradually stepped up his game to orchestrate memorable and viral fashion spectacles, from shows in lavender or wheat fields to a salt mine; from secluded beaches in Hawaii or a hidden bay of the Calanques, up to the grandeur of the Palace of Versailles, in a runway event that earned $14.2 million in Media Impact Value, according to data Launchmetrics shared with WWD. Most recently, Jacquemus opted for the Fondation Maeght, an art foundation filled with statues by the likes of Alberto Giacometti and Joan Miró, set in the hilltop village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, in the South of France.

But there’s more than a great location scouting and standout productions. Over the years, Jacquemus has built a strong following thanks to the easy sensuality of his Mediterranean aesthetic and capitalizing on his native region of Provence as well as passion for art and rustic ceramics. This authentic approach offered an alternative point of view compared to fellow French brands — which mainly sell the Parisian dream — eventually setting his label apart.

Backstage at Jacquemus RTW Spring 2018
Backstage at Jacquemus, spring 2018

A-list casting and front-row guests as well as eye-catching products added to the virality of his shows. Cue micro-cardigans or exaggerated floppy straw sun hats becoming must-have items to secure likes on social media, passing through the miniature bags igniting a global craze, like the bestselling Chiquito style that turned into catnip on Instagram.

Jacquemus, who has cultivated an easy connection with customers via the brand’s official account now boasting 6.3 million followers, further fueled the conversation around the label with bold marketing initiatives, such as having larger-than-life Jacquemus handbag-cars zipping through the streets of Paris or launching the Jacquemus 24/24 retail format inspired by automated convenience stores.

Backstage at Jacquemus RTW Fall 2020
Backstage at Jacquemus, fall 2020

According to Launchmetrics, in 2023, the brand garnered $401 million in MIV, up 60 percent versus 2022 and up 86 percent since 2020. Despite Jacquemus’ owned social account garnering $28.8 million in MIV, accounting for only 7 percent of the total, it acted as a key driver, demonstrating how strong strategies can help brands increase their awareness and engagement through owned channels.

“By blending personal messages and ‘made for content’ moments, the brand is not only able to cut through the noise, but also build an organic connection with their followers,” said Launchmetrics chief marketing officer Alison Bringé. “Their authentic approach to creating viral, shareable content sets a standard for today’s brands aiming to capture attention and connect with their audience.”

Backstage at Jacquemus RTW Fall 2017
Backstage at Jacquemus, fall 2017

In the first quarter of 2024, the brand garnered $123 million in MIV, up 33 percent versus the fourth quarter of last year, propelled by the launch of the collection with Nike, for one. The post shared in February and showing “Le Sac Swoosh” bag was worth $247,000 in MIV alone, said Launchmetrics.

A hands-on leader involved in every aspect of his business, Jacquemus recently enhanced the brand’s desirability by showing what is increasingly becoming a modern corporate power move: offices that make one want to work for the brand, courtesy of OMA and the Unispace studio.

Jacquemus Men's Spring 2019
Jacquemus, men’s spring 2019

Now, it’s the turn of the Capri event to bend the Instagram algorithm to his will.

Little has been spoiled so far, but the striking location promises wonders. Casa Malaparte, a modernist Italian villa set on a clifftop, is an architectural marvel that has been off-limits to fashion shows so far. Jacquemus chose it in tribute to one of his favorite movies, “Le Mépris” (“Contempt”) by Jean-Luc Godard, which features Brigitte Bardot sunbathing nude on the rooftop of the red, arrow-shaped building built by journalist, writer and diplomat Curzio Malaparte between 1938 and 1942.

A look from the new collection was already teased, too, when Bella Hadid stepped out at Cannes Film Festival last month wearing a white midi dress featuring a draped back and accessories including an electric blue suede Le Bambino flap bag and a pair of layered Les Doubles sandals.

Backstage at Jacquemus RTW Spring 2021
Backstage at Jacquemus, spring 2021

While waiting to see more on Monday, here WWD retraces top five runway moments from the brand.

Number 5: The Salty Romance of Fall 2022

An otherworldly collection set against the stark salt flats in the Camargue region offered drama and selfie dreams in equal parts. The two references were paper — hence the title of the lineup, “Le Papier” — and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, which tracked perfectly as the models appeared almost like mirages and crossed the white landscape surrounded by mineral mountains, under the eyes of guests who sat on benches hand-carved out of salt. Jacquemus’ own engagement was another key inspiration for the collection, which featured bridal nods in the long veils that theatrically blew in the wind, tulle skirts and strings of flowers dangling from ears.

Number 4: The Fall 2020 Hair Flip 

No aerial views and remote destinations involved here. All credits for this show’s inclusion in the list go to Gigi Hadid and her hair flip that looped on smartphones’ screens for weeks. Sure, moving her straight mane on a side to show the back of look 61 was a page taken directly from the OG Naomi Campbell’s playbook for the Versace fall 1999 show, but it still went viral, and so did Hadid’s strappy dress, with replicas mushrooming in the fast fashion arena that year. Adding to the hype, Laetitia Casta opened the show, marking her first runway appearance in almost a decade, and heading an all-star cast including Doutzen Kroes and Jill Kortleve. As for the collection, even if worked in a pared-back palette of neutrals, it exuded sensuality with body-hugging knits, off-the-shoulder cardigans and minidresses that proved Jacquemus’ skills beyond his sun-drenched aesthetic.

Jacquemus RTW Fall 2020
Jacquemus RTW Fall 2020

Number 3: The Wheat Field of Spring 2021

Fifty-five models walking down a long, winding path through a field of golden wheat, with a gentle breeze running through their hair, offered a visual masterpiece to the happy few guests who landed in the Vexin region — about an hour outside Paris — and all those who witnessed the poetic spectacle remotely. The bucolic collection filled with Provençal references and its setting — replete with socially distanced chairs and beds in the fields — signaled that physical runway shows would have stayed essential for Jacquemus and his strategy even in the aftermath of pandemic lockdowns. The collection, which featured linen slipdresses, pencil skirts, high-waisted pants and bra-like tops, was called “L’Amour” for a reason.

Backstage at Jacquemus RTW Spring 2021
Backstage at Jacquemus, spring 2021

Number 2: The Spring 2018 Bomba

For some, the glorious Picasso Museum might not compare to the wonders of natural landscapes, yet Paris’ landmark location showcased a charming collection that marked a pivotal point for the brand: with “La Bomba” Jacquemus diverted from his sculpturing and fondness of geometric shapes to embrace draping, twisting and softness as a tribute to the glamorous beach style of his late mother and ever muse. Infused with beauty and nostalgia, this shift kick-started the more sensual and effortless aesthetic that infiltrated the designer’s fashion lexicon and marked collections to come.

Backstage at Jacquemus RTW Spring 2018
Backstage at Jacquemus, spring 2018

Number 1: The Lavender Dream of Spring 2020

This was it: the internet-breaking moment that truly revealed Jacquemus’ image-making force for the first time and best expressed his lighthearted, optimistic and sunny approach to fashion. For his 10th anniversary fashion display, the designer staged a spectacular show in lavender fields near the small town of Valensole, in Provence, drawing guests including Emily Ratajkowksi, Jeanne Damas and Bruna Marquezine. The logistics was completed with a bold pink runway that evoked the art installations by Christo and that made a memorable impact on social media.

“Everyone told me it was impossible, but I had no choice. At Jacquemus, we always have to put the cart before the horse. It’s really very important,” the designer told WWD at the time. “You have to think big, otherwise you don’t achieve anything. If you try to compare yourself to others, if you try to play by the rules, it doesn’t work.”

Models on the catwalkJacquemus co-ed show, Runway, Spring Summer 2020, Provence, France - 24 Jun 2019
Jacquemus, spring 2020

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