Jacquemus Menswear Collection Two Editorial
Behind-the-scenes: The Poetic, Raw, Earthy French Workwear of Jacquemus, The Miller

Instead of putting on a runway show during Fashion Week, Simon Porte Jacquemus, founder of the eponymous brand, invited us to the South of France, to a place so different from how we are used to picturing the South, all to watch the shooting of his second men’s collection — “The Miller.”

When Simon Porte Jacquemus invited us to the South, we immediately thought of the warmth of Provence. We even dared to think that we would be at the seaside, with an ice lolly in one hand and a glass of Pastis in the other, like what he had offered to the guests last June at the show of his first men’s collection, “The Gadjo.” But this time around, the founder surprised us. We are on the Larzac Plateau in Aveyron, far from the sea, relatively comfortable but it was ice-cold. Simon apologizes for what he sees as an unpleasant surprise. He should not feel sorry. The freezing hands only act as a small setback for the real surprise of the day which is revealed straight away on the models. “The Miller,” the design of Simon’s second men’s collection is evidently based on the Jacquemus signature style. The basics in the first collection allude to so many figures that the founder wanted to talk about, however, the second one gives us a more clear idea of what he is going after. The typical/symbolic Jacquemus men’s look will be a worker in modern workwear uniform — something poetic yet utilitarian and romantic.  

Jacquemus Menswear Collection Two Editorial

At the bottom of a windmill, in raw workwear…

Sheep enter the equation. There are a half dozen of them, guided by four dogs which respond to odd commands of a shepherd named Etienne. Here we are at seven in the morning, at the bottom of a windmill built in the 17th century overhanging the prosperous village of the Couvertoirade, accompanied by the wind blowing from the South-West with a shepherd and his flock on “demo mode.” Everyone is freezing but also giggling at the same time. A model tries to climb up the stilts and makes the others laugh when he falls. When Simon and his colleagues stay in a pose for a few minutes, he motivates them with music and some dance moves until they play an Aya Nakamura song over the speakers. The spirit of Jacquemus is there. And it stays there for the rest of the five-day show for a specific reason. A photo shoot is the best way to immortalize a founding collection.

After doing the show in the Calanques, it was hard for me to do a show well in a venue in Paris, I had wanted to recount this new story twice. I wanted people to feel the strong, beautiful and really symbolic images,” he explains to us, hood attached to the head full of fluff. When he returns to the collaboration with his photographer Bruno Staub, the first garments are shown to us give an overall idea of the new Jacquemus story. The monochromatic outfits, loose-fitting jackets with multiple pockets, cardigans without sleeves, all in thick cotton, velour or in hessian mixed linen… The simple, natural venue highlights the complexity of the clothes and the hard work of Simon and his team during the production.

Jacquemus Menswear Collection Two Editorial

I had wanted to return to the earthy Jacquemus, countrysides and to the workwear. There were a lot of these in the first women’s collections; I have always had an obsession with this notion of work uniform, I had wanted to return to it,”. A term that should not, however, be taken literally. “I would have been able to talk about another profession, this was good enough to convey the idea of workwear and also to give a poetic sense. I found it beautiful that there is a name of a nativity scene figure like this, a name that designates a profession which almost no longer exists… this is therefore not a collection inspired by the miller, even if there are references to this job from a long time ago, it is more the idea of work in general,” he explains. The workwear accents of the first collection were a bit unnoticeable with the “in your face, musique a donf, muscles and sun“of the runway show, as the founder recognizes it. Going forward they are going to be typical on the range of ready-to-wear garments but in a clearer way, under the “prism of a more precise universe.” The same universe that is also filled with a certain level of romanticism.

Jacquemus Menswear Collection Two Editorial

… suffused with a subtle poetry

After waking from a good night’s rest beside the windmill and the pond, the sun can be seen shining brightly. The models are no longer afraid of being topless in the fields and under the milder weather. The details of their appearances give off different feelings. We notice the wheat graphic embroidery and those which reminds us of granny’s tablecloth of rosemary, and smaller prints. “That’s such Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, nineties shit!,” exclaims the model referring to the colored, pop-inspired shirt. The wintry monochromatic palette gives way to the touches of different colors of the collection. We are so excited but aren’t able to shout during the interval: these prints, these floral embroideries, the symbols of the revival of poetry which Simon says he wanted to use after the first flashy collection all fit in with these same workwear-inspired pieces. They subtly change the raw natural look to an intentionally tarnished rosemary print to create a whole singularity and the character of the outfit. The hessian is formed bit by bit. We see more than the trace of a miller in this windmill, we also feel under our feet, in the orcher and arid land of Larzac, the work and the countryside of which the founder wants to tell us about.

Jacquemus Menswear Collection Two Editorial
Jacquemus Menswear Collection Two Editorial

“I am going to end this Mediterranean phase”

“I was looking for this windmill, it was my favorite, and so was this place. I used to go to bed every night thinking about all the scenes. I used to send notes, old photos from the ‘30s, and paintings that reproduce this image. “The Gleaners” by Jean-François Millet and Agnes Varda films are all referenced to create the pictures which are more than a lookbook. The sheep, the stilts, these were from the postcards in the past,”, states Simon. The venue makes a splash and nurtures the story of these new clothes. It is always the South of France, but it is no longer the same. And there, we hold something: “I am going to end this Mediterranean phase, for men’s and women’s collection”, he confirms with us. Finishing the ice lolly, he swaps the casualness of the seaside for something “raw, earthy, French”, we would be able to use these three terms that he leaves us to sum up his “Miller” repertoire. There is a “change” in Jacquemus which is started at the other end of the South, “a new period” which will show “ another thing — a return to what has already been done but with the experience to do something more artistic and more conceptual.”

Jacquemus Menswear Collection Two Editorial Jacquemus Menswear Collection Two Editorial  

“This poetry/workwear, this romantic/utilitarian, it is something that we are going to develop,” confirms Julien Sanchez, who is in charge of Jacquemus’ men’s collection, while Simon returns on the set, drawing the line between the two departments. The mild weather didn’t manage to calm the founder down. There he was, more concentrated, and even worried about the sunset as much as the final presentation of the garments; around fifteen pair of pants were missing due to a delay of the delivery. On the other hand, we cannot talk about the short of baguettes at the event.“I like the bread vendor on the side so much, I have a photo of myself when I was little selling lavender in a straw hat like this. I like it so much,” he tells his team. The personal references are also evident: the son of a farmer which created his own brand after the death of his mother, who is also someone who is trying to turn back the hands of time.

  Jacquemus Menswear Collection Two Editorial
Jacquemus Menswear Collection Two Editorial  

I can’t wait for this to progress because I still have a lot of ideas waiting to be expressed through the men’s collection. I wanted this to progress more quickly. The inspiration is already here. I know what the typical Jacquemus men looks like. It is fair that there are a lot of responses saying I don’t have 10 years working on the women’s collection. It is truly an exercise. But I accept it, I am being honest about this. I know there are a lot of things that are done bit by bit, but I am honest, and this is what I am delivering today.” Simon is in doubt, but we assure him without convincing him. With “The Miller”, his second collection, Simon Porte has reached a whole new level with Jacquemus Homme. During his first season, he appeared to be confused, but he is now sensible, tangible and even sure of himself. His feet are fully planted on the ground.

Jacquemus Menswear Collection Two Editorial Jacquemus Menswear Collection Two Editorial
Source
HYPEBEAST FR
Editor
Alexandre Pauwels
Photographer
SEV PIETO/HVH PRODUCTIONS/HYPEBEAST FR
Creative
Hanadi Mostefa
Translator
Marco Lee
Contributing Editor
Ambrose Leung