I adore French fashion label Jacquemus with the same kind comforting fervor that I feel for my best girlfriends, because when I look at a Jacquemus collection I see, not only things perfect for me, but something for each of my girls. Jacquemus collections, especially La piscine, Le sport 90, L’usine, and Les filles en blanc, are made for a cohort, with complimentary looks that share the same core ethic but are adaptable to different body types, measures of modesty, and gender play; miniskirts and trouser suits.
I was surprised to learn that Jacquemus is designed by a man, Simon Porte, still in his early twenties. Porte’s clothes have that “what women want” quality I usually associate with mature female designers like Phoebe Philo, Stella McCartney, and Miuccia Prada. These are clothes made with real women in mind, and by real I mean women with things to do beyond just wearing clothes—you could even be a farmer in these clothes.
I caught up with Simon Porte earlier this week as he was busy prepping for his next collection. Here he is enlightening me on why he’s so good at knowing what girls like.
It’s funny. I was really shocked to find out Jacquemus was designed by a man. Your designs seem so in tune with the way women want to dress right now. Or, at least, how the women in my life want to dress. Could you tell me about the women in your life? Are you dressing them?
I grew up with very strong women: my mother, my grandmother. I lost my mother around the time that I was founding this label and I named it after her—Jacquemus was her maiden name. Each collection is somehow a part of her. The first garment I ever made was for my mother. I was seven years old and I made her a linen skirt that closed with Converse laces. These days I am always surrounded by women. They make me feel good, reassured
Do you have any desire to design for men?
I always used to say that I could never design for men but lately I’ve really wanted to do so. The next collection will include unisex clothing.
What do you wear yourself?
I often dressed with a theme: tennis man, rapper, it depends. A standard is a long t-shirt, oversized shorts and a pair Doc Martens.
I love that your collections all have very strong, simple themes and titles. They are often localized—la maison, l’usine, la piscine. How does place relate to your clothes?
A collection for me is first and foremost a film. A true story, in which there’s this girl…. Jacquemus. I make collections not just to make clothing, but to tell stories. It excites me to think of a story as a veritable way to make clothes and not the opposite.