When I decided to tackle Jacquemus for this month’s “runway copycat” column, I found the Socrates quote “know thyself” rattling around in the back of my mind (shaken free from wherever it is that I store all the irritating adages I picked up in Philosophy 101). The Jacquemus look is simple, sleek, and blaringly sexy. My look, on the other hand, tends to favor rhinestones, frills, and multiplicities of pattern. I am not your typical Jacquemus girl. This being said, I am a girl with two eyes and a heart, and I was thus moved when images of models traipsing a hot pink pathway through fields of lavender at the 10-year Jacquemus anniversary show flooded the internet last month. While I might not align myself with the Jacquemus aesthetic, there is no denying that Simon Porte Jacquemus has carved out a niche for himself with an unwavering vision of skimpy, sun-soaked, endless vacations. On paper, I can find no fault with said vision, so perhaps there could be something in there for me! Is it laying dormant in my closet? I suppose there is no better time than the hot, humid present to find out.
Look #1: S/S 2020 Menswear, Beach Blazer
Right off the bat, Jacquemus won me over with this one. I love this pale pink blazer, but every time I wear it I feel a bit like I’m dressed as an alternate, corporate version of myself. The addition of a T-shirt and swim trunks feels equal parts playful and polished. I am left wondering if Jacquemus’s sexed-up sensibility lends itself to menswear in a more unexpected, cheeky way.
Look #2: S/S 2020 Menswear, Le Touriste
The absence of prints in Jacquemus’s clothing was my biggest concern when I embarked upon this experiment. One would be hard-pressed to find something that is not patterned or embroidered in my closet, so I was delighted to seethe introduction of cheerful, oversized florals in the most recent show. I must admit I would never wear flip-flops outside of this photograph. The feeling of my big toe separated from the rest is so strange to me that I’m baffled anyone can walk around in them all day! They did, however, seem like the only shoes light and breezy enough to approximate this look, so I borrowed a pair from my mom.
Look #3: S/S 2018, La Bomba
Now, I don’t use this word lightly, but the video campaign that accompanied Jacquemus’s La Bomba collection was iconic. The whole show was sun-blushed with escapism in the way that fashion can be at its very best, capable of conjuring rich memories, true or imagined, with little more than a piece of fabric. As I mentioned earlier, however, strappy dresses and sandals are not really my thing, and a leotard in the same shade of ballet-class blue seemed truer to myself. I was actually asked to leave the Coney Island theme park for sporting a version of this “not family-friendly” outfit last summer. This debacle is probably the opposite of the Campari-sipping, Capri-vacationing experience for which Jacquemus designed these looks, but whatever.
Look #4: S/S 2019 Menswear, Suit sans Shirt
All I can see here is untapped potential for more accessories. I need a wallet to sling around my neck, but I also want big Baroque pearl earrings, patterned socks to pair with my sandals, and a smattering of barrettes–none of which would likely be approved by Jacquemus. Restraint is not my strong suit, but do I get points for trying?
Look #5: S/S 2017, Hat O’Clock
This is an iteration of the Jacquemus look that I can get behind: polka dots, puff sleeves, and a comically large sun hat. It was too hot to even think about donning pants the day I photographed this story, so I opted for a pair of micro-short crochet bikini bottoms, which seemed a very Jacquemus choice. I actually wore this outfit the following night sans hat, though, in retrospect, the hat might have served me well as a barrier to keep people from stepping on my naked toes.
To be perfectly honest, when I set out on this Jacquemus experiment, I expected to be able to wrap it up with a neat quip that I needn’t have been so stuck in my ways, there was a little bit of Jacquemus near to my heart all along. Instead, I found the words from Molly Fischer’s phenomenal article “The Pleasure of Sitting Out a Trend” rattling in my brain all week as I pulled things from my closet: “The opposite of this…My personal style is the opposite of this.” I liked the leotard, but that seems a bit of a cop-out given that it’s something I regularly wear anyway.
It’s not that I take offense to the Jacquemus style at all–I admire people who can make little more than a spaghetti strap and a sandal look like a full-blown outfit. And I am not uncomfortable with traditionally sexy clothing! Though it took some hard work, I am proud to have a genuinely positive attitude toward my body and all its capabilities. I am thus sure that my qualms here are purely aesthetic. I realize now that I tend to view my body as a craft project or a magpie’s nest, something with infinite potential to be decorated and decoupaged, rather than a race car that must be pared to its most lustrous, aerodynamic essentials. As far as I can tell, the only overlap between my style and that of Jacquemus is our shared affinity for heartbreakingly tiny bags.
I think I still pulled off a worthy approximation of the looks above, and should I ever meet the man himself, I suppose I can proffer him these half-baked attempts at minimalism as some sort of anniversary present. Until then, however, I’ll be in my puff sleeves and my ditsy florals and my clunky, inelegant shoes. I am positive now that I am not tiptoeing around anything in fear. I just…know myself.
Photos provided by Vogue Runway and Ruby Redstone.