“I said I will only make menswear the moment I fall in love, and now I am.”
With a dreamy physique, an irresistable ambiguous social media image, and fresh, subtly avant-garde aesthetic, Simon Porte Jacquemus has quickly risen to be the most talked about, most critically-lauded designer these past few years. His unique pieces (mismatched shoes, oversized straw hat, polka-dotted asymmetrical blouses) flew off the shelves everywhere and found their place in the closet and on the backs of today’s stylish crowd.
Last February, after weeks of teasing his public with his #NewJob, Jacquemus ended his F/W 2018 fashion show with an announcement of an imminent menswear line. Something we have all been waiting for impatiently since.
Disrupting the centrality of French fashion week in Paris, Jacquemus unveiled his debut menswear collection on the picturesque seaside of Marseille. A spillover from his brand’s aesthetic language influenced by his memories of growing up in the south of France. The Jacquemus man, much like his woman counter-part, was sunkissed, effortless, and a bit steamy.
Troding barefoot on the beach clad in a sunflower printed shirt (unbuttoned to show of a dangling gold necklace), technical silk cargo pants, or block color speedos, l’homme Jacquemus is a polished portrait of the Southern French guy, the marseillais. . He has swag, a nice tan, and nicer arms. Bulging muscular bodies partying on the beach, it felt too macho. In a time when the poweful men are exposed for the predators that they are and when masculinity as we know it is everyday being challenged and reformed, sending out beefcake after beefcake of models clad in formulaic looks felt a bit outdated, if not tone-deaf. After cheering him on season after season, for the first time I see Jacquemus for who he is: a white cis-gender gay man.
There were nice pieces though, like a sunshiny yellow open-knit sweater, a roomy beige safari coat cinched at the waist, another permutation of the Jacquemus straw hat, and the jewelry. These are pieces you spot, there was not a strong pillar look to champion the collection. Nothing was very compelling, and the collection had a more or less lukewarm reception from its public, revealing the double-edge sword that is fashion hype: if you manage to get people excited in anticipation of your next drop, that’s great, but it better be explosive enough to sustain the frenzy. The Jacquemus maiden menswear line unfortunately didn’t.