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L'Homme Jacquemus: a breath of sea air

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The first clue that Simon Porte Jacquemus' first-ever menswear collection was going to buck fashion industry trends, came at the finale of his Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear show.

When Jacquemus announced the creation of his first ever menswear collection, there was no giant Times Square ad campaign, no perfectly-curated viral video, no mechanically distributed press release.

Instead, Jacquemus himself jogged onto the runway after his Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear show donning a sweatshirt printed with the words "New Job L'Homme Jacquemus", as though this new line he was teasing isn't, you know, a pretty big deal!  

This low-key approach is something of a trademark to L'Homme Jacquemus, with the exception perhaps of the grand reveal of his womenswear collection in Paris some years ago.

Jacquemus has since returned to his southern-French roots and foregone the grandiose, a move that has been seen to have a strangely calming effect on the atmosphere of the traditional fashion weeks.  

New York, Paris, Milan, and London might be iconic in the fashion world, but they're cities none-the-less: urban jungles where Jacquemus' rural Mediterranean soul feels sullied by smoke, grit and fast fashion.  

Instead, it's the sandy landscapes of Marseille that play host to the fruits of his labour, with the infamous "frow" being a simple row of navy blue beach towels roughly lined up along the shoreline.  

Unlike other shows at which attendees clamour to wear the most outrageous "street" style,  it was advised not to even wear heels at this show.  

With this, Jacquemus represents a new generation: one which appreciates and curates high-quality, beautiful fashion, but which is willing to add more of a personal touch, even if that means abandoning the Champs-Elysées in favour of some champs arides.  

The high-fashion runways are no stranger to Mediterranean influence. We're used to seeing linen, but it's crisply pressed and adorned with jaw-droppingly expensive jewellery. Straw hats have taken a trip down the catwalk, but the runway is made of acrylic.  

We take the rugged and we make it urban. We've often taken rurality to the fashion industry, without ever demanding that the fashion industry be taken to the rural.  

It's no wonder, then, that this industry is seen as so elitist; for many, the lights and heights of the fashion capitals are either unappealing or unapproachable.  

Nevertheless, Jacquemus' collection seems to attempt to close that gap; many of the models featured in the show are local Marseillais men scouted on the street.  

This casting decision reflects the turning tide in the arts, celebrating the rustic, the imperfect, the real, the genuine beauty of walking barefoot in the sand, of loose shirts with unevenly-rolled sleeves. It also embraces one's traditions instead of conformity.

The easy-going, laid-back and unassuming is finally emerging not only as a fashion statement but as one worthy of appreciation and attention.  

Last year, Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name demonstrated that quiet, rural beauty can hold its own alongside Hollywood blockbusters.

And it seems L'Homme Jacquemus will do the same for the fashion industry - winning over the general public and highbrow critics alike. Quiet proof that runway-to-market style might just be the next big thing.

Discover more about the much-anticipated collection on the official Jacquemus website.

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