Mom. The first influencer. At some point, many designers offer overt homage. Simon Porte Jacquemus did so initially by taking his mother’s maiden name, Jacquemus, for his collection. For spring, he celebrated a specific element of her style. “I don’t think I ever saw my mother more beautiful than on evenings after the beach and probably when she was in love,” he wrote in his program notes. Mother and son would take a walk, visiting “souvenir shops filled with earrings, ceramics, sarongs and headbands.” “La bombe,” he called her archetype.
La bombe’s vibe of upbeat, beachy glamour defined the collection, “the idea of going down to the harbor after a long day at the beach and wanting to feel beautiful,” Jacquemus said post-show. Yet he presented in the glorious Picasso Museum, perhaps to telegraph that these clothes are polished enough for any urban situation. While so many other designers, young and not so, are racing to do street, Jacquemus’ theme let him have it both ways — dressing down as a way of dressing up, keeping the attitude cool and the look hot. What’s more relaxed than artfully mismatched drop earrings and, for heels, whimsical geometric configurations? What’s sexier that a swimsuit reimagined as a dress?
It was a departure for Jacquemus from his demonstrative, sculptural tailoring — one that proved appealing and sweet, if at times a bit awkward. The clothes were often chic — twist-front shirtdresses, short and long; sarongs and swimsuits galore, in their natural state and reimagined as a multitude of dresses and separates. But some of the cuts — twisted, turned, bunched, draped — felt overworked for the relaxation mode; the learning-curve results of audaciously ambitious ideas not yet perfected. As for the sweet factor, the celebration of Jacquemus’ mother and the style tenets to which she introduced him imbued the collection with a discreet nostalgia. It charmed.