Jacquemus Is a Blueprint for Surrealist Marketing

Embracing escapism, Jacquemus asserts its place in luxury through immersive experiences and the power of the modern supermodel.

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Simon Porte Jacquemus has undoubtedly made his mark in the high fashion market. Since landing onto the scene to start his independent label in 2009, the French designer has been one to watch. The success of the brand has seen Jacquemus double its revenues to €200 million EUR by 2022, on track to grow its sales to €500 million EUR by 2025. Furthermore, with a multi-year partnership with sportswear giant Nike, Jacquemus has launched sold-out sneakers and athletic capsules on top of his seasonal drops. Throughout his success, Simon has always stayed true to his strategy which he once told BoF, “My strategy, to be clear, is to have a strong brand with a strong image, and a contemporary price point. But I don’t want to be next to the contemporary brands.”

While his designs often provoked a sense of “naivety,” Jacquemus brought forward a world of playful, yet avant-garde designs, portrayed through the concept of surrealism. Those who are familiar with Jacquemus designs and campaigns know that the designer revels in capturing the attention of audiences through his surreal and often vibrant campaigns. To Simon, image is everything and with Jacquemus, that is exactly what he is trying to sell. In an industry where fashion brands are constantly vying for the attention of consumers, Jacquemus has proven time and time again that with their innovative marketing approach, they are able to captivate the luxury market. From unconventional runways to surrealist campaigns and a strategic use of social media, Jacquemus has redefined how luxury fashion brands can appeal to consumers.

In an overly saturated market, Jacquemus has leveraged surrealist marketing to take advantage of consumers’ desire to search for escapism and the extraordinary. Meant to shock, delight and spark conversation within the industry and beyond, Jacquemus is channeling the power of storytelling to connect with audiences on a deeper level. Breaking it down, there are two major components that truly make Jacquemus’ surrealist marketing strategy work — creating experiential, immersive and over-the-top fashion events and pop-ups to transport his audience into a different world and, utilizing the fantasy of the modern supermodel to create a romantic illusion.

When it comes to creating experiential marketing campaigns, the Jacquemus team knows what they are doing. From one of their most memorable events being a 500-meter-long pink runway set against the backdrop of a lavender field in the Provence to an all-white runway amidst the giant mounds of salt in Camargue, France and taking over the Palace of Versailles, Simon not only captures the essence of Jacquemus but he incorporates the French heritage into the brand’s story. In this digital age, his experiences are easily transferrable in becoming Instagrammable moments, generating media buzz while also creating a spectacle. Most of these locations are chosen carefully to portray a sense of exclusivity that allows Jacquemus to compete with other luxury brands. For instance, the shows are often invite-only and are situated in hard to get-to locations.

On top of the spectacular shows, Jacquemus pop-up stores are always a topic of conversation. Continuing to show that he understands the power of location to create memorable experiences, Simon chooses elaborate places that evoke the picturesque, opulent fantasy for his pop-ups and stores, most recently situated in Lake Como, Portofino and the French Alps. The physical experiences are not only visually impactful, but the events create buzz and lead to valuable user generated content (UGC) from fans around the world. Transporting audiences to a reverie, Jacquemus is able to create a sense of wonder.

Jacquemus continues to demonstrate that a brand’s online persona can have a life offline. When image is everything, Simon must constantly draw interest to the brand to grow its appeal. Since the beginning, the Jacquemus brand has always been guided by the sense of escapism. For Spring 2018, Jacquemus debuted a short film filled with dramatic salsa dancing alongside the “La Bomba” collection to portray the perfect summer escape. This led to a continued campaign where viral images of the exaggerated “La Chapeau Bomba” was shared endlessly on social media. In this day and age, it is all about staying relevant and creating distinctive and shareable moments. From larger-than-life Jacquemus toasters and Bambino handbags paired next to one another to his oversized handbags on wheels gliding through the streets of Paris and a Bambino-shaped café pop-up in Seoul, the French label takes surrealist marketing to the next level. This year, in a post-pandemic era, these moments led to whimsical content that provide an escape for audiences worldwide. Visual language through experiential creativity becomes key to increasing engagement levels.

Simply put, the social media savvy designer knows how to keep the attention of his audiences. In addition to immersive, physical brand experiences, Simon also leans into another traditional form of visual advertising to create a sense of surrealism. The designer leverages the present day supermodel to create the vision of the lavish Jacquemus lifestyle. International supermodels like Liu Wen, Adut Akech, Kendall Jenner, Vittoria Ceretti, Gigi Hadid, Imaan Hammam and more are often seen strutting down the Jacquemus runway, adding to an already magnificent setting. Specifically enlisting supermodels of our time, Jacquemus not only perpetuates the upscale and ritzy fantasy often communicated by luxury brands, but the strategy places the brand as a part of a zeitgeist. Jacquemus attaches itself to a moment in history — the modern era that sees today’s fashion audiences heavily influenced by supermodels like Jenner and Hadid.

Supermodels have long been used in fashion to sell a dream or a fantasy. With supermodels like Jenner and Hadid gracing major campaigns for the brand, they play into the surrealism that Jacquemus marketing has grown to be accustomed to. For example, Hadid appeared as the face of the “Le Chouchou” campaign for Fall 2023 where she sat in a foamy bathtub with a cherry on top, inspired by abstract art. In another image, she posed in a red balloon dress and embodied a fallen apple in the field. When Jenner starred in the “GUIRLANDE” holiday collection campaign, the supermodel plays the cozy protagonist to the “ski bunny” fantasy in a dreamlike, retro-futuristic chalet setting. Jacquemus leans into the supermodel sexiness to bring forward a sense of voyeuristic fervour to the surrealist-themed campaigns.

In the current time period where most are hoping to gain back the few years lost to a global pandemic, fashion enthusiasts look towards fantasy worlds to gain solace. While surrealism in fashion is not new, it appears to be having a comeback. From avant-garde pieces to over-the-top moments, brands are jumping on the trend for the fantastical to create a brief escape from reality. Jacquemus’ success proves that surrealism has a place in modern fashion and that more and more, audiences want to be entranced and live in moments of reverie.

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