Simon Porte Jacquemus is obsessed with shapes. It’s obvious from the first glance at his collections, which have been striking if a bit confounding in their use of hugely exaggerated but plain geometric proportions that cut a bold caricature-like figure. Such was the case almost literally for his spring collection, for which Santons de Provence, the Christmas nativity scene clay figurines popular in the South of France, served as a key reference. Real Santons depict characters in a traditional Provençal village, but Jacquemus’ take was more romantic — and stylish — than the village fishmonger or shopkeeper. These were fashion girls not yokels.
The models descended down a series of platforms against a circular light installation that looked like the midday sun, straw sunhats, flat with ultrawide, precise circular brims perched on their heads or fastened around their necks. There was a quaint beauty to starched shirts with blown-out puff and peasant sleeves, a black cropped-top with a triangular apron of a bib worn with cigarette pants and an off-shoulder shirt with stiff spaghetti straps tucked into a pair of ultra-high-waisted ticking-stripe wide-leg pants, all of it derived from classic French country style. Some things were on the conventional side of wearable — a nice pleated trench — some looked like life-size clay figures — the final nightdress with linebacker shoulders, for instance. But from start to finish Jacquemus arranged colors and shapes in a way that tickled the eye.