While the majority of runway shows and collections I discuss focus on fastidious detail and embellishments, sometimes it's nice to get back to the bear basic case in point Jacquemus. The French designer caused quite the stir at fashion week last season featuring a collaborative makeup look with Berlin-based artist Sebastian Bieniek as well as nods towards the #FreeTheNipple campaign. But before all of that there was simplicity, silhouettes and strong coats. While it would be tempting to place these pieces in a more artfully composed context and background that is the very reason why editorials exist. Instead Jacquemus lays his clothes bare worn simply with plain white Adidas sneakers (probably to the models' relief) and makeup au naturel. This simply enforces greater emphasis on the slightly exaggerated shapes and silhouettes of both the coats and floating panels on mesh. However, creating slightly bulky or cocoon-like hoods is nothing new. Japanese designers such as Hiroshige Maki, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamato have literally carried out this type of work for decades. Therefore I shall not praise Jacquemus as being progressive, but merely a continuation of these practitioners within a restrained colour palette and the addition of irregular shapes and patterns.
Dissecting the collection into sections according to colour not only allowed for the audience to sit and digest everything but a visual landscape when viewed at once. This is at the expense of being able to create a narrative which accompanies the clothes enhanced by music and set design. I can't even imagine the soundtrack that would follow the models as they move back and forth and I am in no way inclined to find out. Normally through a natural curiosity I am compelled to immerse myself in previous collections and watch old videos of a runway show but I am not filled with any real passion when viewing these clothes. Instead I view them objectively, like I would a set of data or other line of scientific evidence. It's only when I view them again in an editorial or photo shoot that I make any kind of emotional attachment with their strange silhouettes and other worldly shape. I think what was missing were cute pastel backgrounds and a metaphoric gold gilt frame with which to view these pieces. I can appreciate that this was not the intention of Jacquemus but it feels strange to see such vibrant clothes showcased in a dimensionless space.
The clothes themselves were interesting, but as I mentioned before one can't help but feel like this as all too familiar and a gentrified rehash of the innovations of Japanese designers. Pieces such as the turtleneck with two neck holes which can be worn a number of ways is sadly nothing new and flattened statement seams were also akin to the 2D Comme des Garcons pieces everyone frantically searches for online. All this without the same makeup and hair styling Rei Kawakubo insists upon as a necessity to the experience of her show made Jacquemus pale in comparison. While the suits and dresses did offer something different the coat shape, structural integrity and collars were all pieces I felt I had seen before, merely in a new selection of colours. What is interesting is that these clothes demand a minimalist approaching to styling but a hefty dry cleaning bill and loads of space for storage. In a way they are nothing more than an ideal rather than something which can exist in the real world, although my favourite Susie Bubble was captured wearing the coat from the final look and did an exceptional job.
Images via Fashion Glossary UK