Simon Porte Jacquemus made a name for himself in 2010 when, aged only 19 and with no formal training, he launched his eponymous fashion label. He staged a variety of outlandish shows in the likes of public swimming pools and blacked-out halls and has since become the go-to designer for the Parisian it-girl. His collections embody a playful French spirit, each one telling a story with the latest taking on the narrative of a young girl on vacation in La Grande Motte, a seaside town in the South of France. Built in the late 1960s by Jean Balladur, it is characterised by its homogeneous architecture, made up of Ziggurat towers and streamlined geometry. “It was just built on one idea and that makes the city very strong,” explains Jacquemus. This clean-cut precision feeds into his S/S14 collection of crop tops, graphic tees, pleats and sweatshirts. Jacquemus was inspired by 1960s and 1980s French cinema and the youthful buoyancy and joie de vivre that they provoked. For the first time, he has released a book to accompany the collection, which captures the spirit of the clothes. Here, he speaks to AnOther on the book and the influence of French town.
Why did you decide to produce a book?
I don't do collections, I do stories, so I always focus on the story as well as the clothes. I was really excited to make an object from this collection and to have something to keep for all time, to tell the story of this girl.
Who is the girl in the story?
It is a bit of an 80s French film cliché. She goes to the beach, she eats ice cream, she plays tennis and she falls in love. She is there but she doesn’t know what she is doing there, she’s a bit lost.
"She goes to the beach, she eats ice cream, she plays tennis and she falls in love" — Jacquemus
What are your thoughts on La Grande Motte?
It is a very strong architectural city built and designed by just one guy, Jean Balladur. Right now the city is very popular but it is getting a trashy reputation. A lower class city, you know, it’s a bit of a joke. Like, “Oh, I feel bad for you, you go there.” This makes me really sad. To me, it’s a really special place. I travel a lot, but I still think La Grande Motte is a very inspiring and exciting place. Although I don’t think you could go there for more than one or two weeks, it’s a bit much.
When did you first visit La Grande Motte?
When I was a child. I was living forty minutes or so from the city. I had my first vacation there when I was eight, but I didn't remember anything about the architecture. When you are eight you just see ice cream, colour and the beach.
Jacquemus: La Grande Motte is out now.
Text by Mhairi Graham