Simon Porte Jacquemus has never been one to follow the crowd.
The designer has expanded his accessories offering for fall 2017 with the same offbeat proportions, shapes and colors often addressed in his ready-to-wear offerings.
“It’s something so easy, very playful — one of my favorite parts of the job,” he said of the process behind the seven bags and 17 shoe designs he created for the season. Jacquemus introduced his first bag design — a bean-shaped satchel aptly named Le Haricot — for resort 2016.
For fall, the designer has introduced a menagerie of new styles — structured lady bags with oversize hoops for handles, or wooden block-heel shoes with gargantuan buckles, sometimes banded with Ungaro-type flourishes, like ruched polka dot fabric. His signature shoe design — Le Rond Carré — with one heel square, its mate cylindrical, will continue.
Jacquemus designs all of the brand’s accessories, and said he has no plans to outsource the task to a new employee. “I don’t give the job to anyone, I really enjoy doing it,” he said. His label employs a development professional to oversee the accessories’ manufacturing and quality control.
“Everything was kind of natural, we didn’t try to make a business out of it, it’s just exciting to do more. I think our shoes and bags are really special — they really have a signature and that’s why people have bought a lot,” he said.
“I think we are going to be very successful — I am very serious about this, when I go into a department store I don’t see a lot of [unique] identity in shoes and bags. That’s why I’m so sure about this, I’m sure [shoppers] will see it’s very different.”
Jacquemus has applied the same pricing strategy from his rtw offering to his accessories. Most items are set at less than $1,100 retail. “The price is also different, my bag is 900 euros max, my shoes 600 euros — sandals 400 euros, very special show pieces and heels 700, 800 euros. Other brands are winning a lot of money, making a big margin on bags and shoes. Me, I try to not sell for a lot, to really have my strategy be accessible. I want to be 100 percent true with the consumer,” said the designer.
Jacquemus declined to disclose financial figures for his brand, but noted: “We double [our sales] every season.” The label has 200 stockists on board for fall 2017, nearly half of which will carry some portion of its accessories offering. Accessories represent 15 percent of the brand’s sales.
Prior to the expansion, Jacquemus accessories were carried by about 30 international stockists — including Opening Ceremony and The Broken Arm.
See-now-buy-now is not on his agenda. He feels the commercial trend — the topic of industry-wide debate — does not lend itself to the advancement of fashion or creativity.
“I don’t believe in see-now-buy-now since the beginning for one reason: As a creative person, I can’t stop a collection and then show it six months later, I could be in a different mood or completely changing my mind. It’s not possible from a creative point of view. The wait is beautiful, it’s good for the customer. They have to understand how we are working. If they want to see and buy now — go to H&M.
“A lot of people are working so much, trying to have creative things. It’s a nightmare to produce these special clothes, special designs. This wait is beautiful. I don’t know why the press is so much into see-now-buy-now.”
Jacquemus feels his commitment to the runway, and the pioneering looks it yields, is what has catapulted his label. For him, confidence is key: “I think fashion designers have to believe in their product. When we’ve tried to do a commercial thing, in the end it did not sell, so it was a surprise and good experience — people really want new things.”