The overriding message from Simon Porte Jacquemus this season was: “Don’t put me in a box.” He moved away from the sexy, Mediterranean La Bomba protagonist of recent seasons back to his early, arty leanings, with this idea of achieving “the perfect balance of sensuality and something more conceptual.”

For the set, the budding fashion showman re-created a village based on the island of Murano near Venice. Charming colored houses lined Place Jacquemus, with the roads leading off named after some of his favorite artists, including Rue Gae Aulenti and Rue Le Corbusier. Quite the contrast from the venue’s gritty location on the edge of Paris.

Nods to the artists’ works also featured in the collection’s bold painterly prints, with the designer’s collection of vases and ceramics also feeding into the collection.

The overall vibe was more urban in tone than village girl, though, albeit keeping a signature sunny palette interspersed with pops of color, ranging from neon pink to Hockney-blue, orange and red.

A utilitarian theme wove through, with men’s cargo pockets placed on feminine looks, deconstructed hanging lapels, sensual dresses with buttoned apron-like constructions and puffed-up worker belts worn at the hips. There was still that Eighties ready-to-wear flavor nodding to his childhood and mother, with family photos dangling from earrings, while trompe l’oeil plays included a blue silk top and skirt masquerading as a trench.

Key looks included a sunflower yellow coat with a large collar worn over a shirt in a dandelion print and yellow pants, a chic summer ensemble for wearing down south. Ditto for the ivory suit covered in small gold ringlets, with fresh flowers popped through, or an all-beige look pairing a shirt with billowing sleeves with a fluid pleated pant, accessorized with bright red shoes and a pouch.

The designer played with proportions on accessories, downsizing his “It” bag, Le Saq Chiquito — “sold in the tens of thousands,” he noted — to itsy-bitsy jewelry proportions, and cutting shoes a tad too roomy to evoke Barbie shoes. Other key footwear styles included minimalist wader-style boots and leather-covered cone heels, with a selection of wares exhibited in the Jacquemus village boutique.

More polished and sophisticated in its design approach, as well as more real, the collection delivered more substance whilst keeping its signature Provençal mood and nostalgic perfume.

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