The Rain Jacquemus Makes (Not Just Raffia)

At the Jacquemus spring-summer 2023 presentation, the brand's fifth collection since switching to a see-now, buy-now business strategy, raffia dropped from the sky. (Jacquemus)
At the Jacquemus spring-summer 2023 presentation, the brand's fifth collection since switching to a see-now, buy-now business strategy, raffia dropped from the sky. (Jacquemus)

The buzzy French company has used a charismatic creator, distinct brand identity, and business plan geared to social media to produce €200 million in income this year, as raffia dropped from the sky during Simon Porte Jacquemus' Monday show.

Designer Simon Porte Jacquemus gathered a celebrity-studded audience to his show outside of Paris on Monday, including Blackpink vocalist Jennie, actors Vincent Cassel and Pamela Anderson, and reality TV personality Christine Quinn.

Raffia pieces snowed from the ceiling to create a surrealist summer in winter, a modern take on an old-fashioned cinematic trick. The line-up of sensual, sunny outfits, many of which are being prepared for purchase in December as part of the brand's "see-now, buy-now" campaign, made for an appropriate backdrop.

It is hardly surprising that Jacquemus would use cinematic techniques for its most recent collection; the designer is renowned for his unique runways, which have included adventures through surreal salt mines and lavender meadows.

The social media savvy designer frequently puts his own background and personality at the center of his work, whether it is his close ties to the south of France, his sun-drenched romance with his then-boyfriend, or his boyish sense of humor. (He teased the concert by playing a practical joke on his 5.2 million Instagram followers on Sunday, saying, "The show of tomorrow will be my last one... of the year!")

Instead of enlivening the collection with yet another tale about Jacquemus, the guy, the designer made an effort this season to keep himself out of the picture by mining the codes of Jacquemus, the brand. Big straw hats, sunflowers, geometric patterns, and twisted, asymmetrical tops from prior seasons all made a comeback. The brand's well-known €100 sun bob was disassembled and incorporated into ruffled tops as a jab at its own commercial success.

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"I didn't want to share another self-contradictory tale. As a maison would, we wanted to make references to our own past, said Jacquemus.

Instagram-dependent customers who frequent upscale summer destinations like Capri and Mykonos—and whose style vocabulary of large hats and small bags has frequently been influenced by Jacquemus' summery collections—became a major source of inspiration for the show as the brand sought to infuse new life into classic pieces like strappy sandals, straw totes, and large earrings. "We wanted to sublimate the female who is a little out there. With our own codes, we intended to have fun, Jacquemus stated.

The self-referential line was a shrewd move by Jacquemus since while the success of the company has frequently been attributed to its charismatic founder, the brand is slowly but surely evolving into an institution in its own right. As it aims to increase annual sales from roughly €200 million euros this year to over €500 million euros in 2025, it opened its first retail location this year on Paris' illustrious Avenue Montaigne (home to luxury ür-institution Christian Dior). It also hired Bastien Daguzan, a longtime advisor, as its first external chief executive. (Jacquemus published its financials in an interview with BoF in September for the first time since 2016).

We wanted to make historical references similar to how a maison would.

Both a realist and a romantic, Jacquemus has modified his business approach to convert the internet excitement created by the current show into direct sales. He has stuck with the "see-now, buy-now" philosophy that has made runway designs immediately shopper-friendly for the past five seasons.

The strategy, which closes the gap between staging shows and selling collections that many firms employ to gain momentum through celebrity placements, magazine shoots, and advertising, has been tried and abandoned by other businesses. Additionally, a business must create the following collection while preparing to stage the previous one and arrange sales talks with stockists behind closed doors.

However, Jacquemus claimed that scheduling performances to coincide with the selling season has increased social media conversions. 39 percent of the brand's €102 million in annual revenues were generated by its online flagship.

We have such a large following on Instagram that it wasn't feasible to display an item that wouldn't be for sale for another six months. The audience was really perplexed, said Jacquemus. "As a creator, it's incredibly hard to develop something and not share it, and then 6 months later go back into it. But as a business owner, it's great that more individuals are sporting Jacquemus.

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