Simon Porte Jacquemus: Storytelling is the tool!

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“… Storytelling is the most powerful tool marketers have at their disposal.”

This is what John Mellor, Adobe’s Vice President of Business Development and Strategy has to say. And the best-selling author, Laurie R. King, while reflecting on her legendary fictional character, Mary Russell, admits that it’s her love of storytelling that pushes her creativity, and adds that the storyteller’s instincts are bone deep and that she thinks being able to shape a story out of an idea is really deeply satisfying, and then to see other people touched by our storytelling is really quite extraordinary.

And I totally agree with them and the others who have the same regard for storytelling. And this storytelling talent is embedded in almost all our aspects, including business.

[The storyteller and the detective; By  Peggy Townsend; March 24, 2016; on UC Santa Cruz NEWSCENTER of University of California Santa Cruz

Adobe Summit, Day 2: Storytelling Is Marketers’ Most Powerful Tool; CMO EXCLUSIVES | March 24, 2016; SOURCE]

In fact, I believe so much in the benefits of storytelling in business that I’ve written several articles on this topic on this blog : “From Logo Designer To Brand Storyteller!” &  “Storytelling With Symbols”  just to name a few.

When I think of storytelling and its benefits in business, the one that comes to my mind, these recent months, is the fashion designer Simon Porte Jacquemus, the one who’s making some waves with his latest designs at the runway shows.

I think of Simon because he, too, believes in storytelling. In fact, in one of his interviews he confessed that he preferred telling his customers a story to a line of clothing he’d designed recently. He said: “I don’t see my fashion as clothes, as there is no point for me to do a show with clothes and models walking to pop music… I was obsessed with always telling a story!”  

At the end of her article, Joelle Diderich concluded saying that Simon’s New Year resolution was to capture the childlike enthusiasm that had eluded him of late, and quoted him as saying that all his life he had been told by his people to not be a kid anymore, but he thought it was quite good to see life with kids’ eyes.

[‘Ten of Tomorrow: Simon Porte Jacquemus’ by Joelle Diderich; Jan. 20, 2016 on WWD. – SOURCE]

However, in an interview with Sarah Mower, Paris, March 1, 2016, he said we might not see so much of ‘elementary school designs’ (in his collections) but we still had that kind of naïveté in the story he told us in his collection.

Such is his belief, and with that belief he’s climbing up the ladder. His namesake brand, Jacquemus, sales, according to some estimates, has tripled over the last year and the annual volume is between 1m euros and 3m euros. His designs are found at Opening Ceremony and Dover Street Market in New York; Le Bon Marché in Paris; Selfridges in London, and Corso Como in Shanghai and Seoul… at more than 90 spots around the world. A visible improvement for a five-year old brand.

Susie Lau, in her ‘Jacquemus is Paris fashion’s new heavyweight’, March 2016, on Dazed, declared that with his surrealist signatures, Simon reminded us why he was one of the city’s most exciting minds, and with that she announced he was a heavyweight.

He not only has a philosophy but also a head for business!

Unlike John Galliano who has great talent but no head for business, Simon, with his philosophy of spontaneity and the powerful tool of storytelling, has a good head for business. He has never been shy or too snobbish to ask for help or advice.

His story would have been different or he would not have had a story at all if it had not been for Emmanuelle Alt, the current Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, Paris, whom Simon had approached and got a good coverage in Vogue some time ago. (I noticed that almost all the ace fashion designers were once or twice given a boost by Vogue in one way or the other and at one time or the other.) Joelle Diderich declared in her article that behind the artless attitude (of Simon), however, lay a cool head for business.

His story took a turn for the better when he won an LVMH Prize in its young designer competition (2015). With a good amount in grant and a yearlong mentorship from LVMH, who’s going to lag behind, and as we can see from his record, Jacquemus is not the kind of person to lag behind… with or without any support.

Realistics among Unrealistics:

In her review in ‘Spring 2016 Ready-To-Wear Jacquemus’, on Runway, Vogue, Sep. 29, 2015, Sarah Mower wrote: the models were dressed in “… fractured tailored pieces, sliced half-jackets in navy and gray cloth dresses, overlaid and underlaid with white shirts cut on the diagonal or worn back-to-front …” and about the appearance of Simon himself, she wrote “… to add to the oddness, the designer himself appeared, …, leading a white horse across the stage …” She even dared to ask “A surreal symbolic dream or a fashion nightmare where clothes are to be bought in asymmetrical fractions?”

However, Steff Yotka in her review ‘Paris Fashion Week, Day 1 Recap:…’ March 1, 2016 on Runway, Vogue, wrote that Simon Porte Jacquemus was one of the five ‘young designers on the rise’. She continued to say that but for all the experimentation in the collection, that blue-checked coat sure is wearable!

In her review “an actual white horse walked the runway at Jacquemus’, October 1, 2015, on i-D, Charlotte Gush stated that fashion loves a showman, and continued her remarks about the show and the appearance of Simon with a white horse beside him ‘after a dreamlike show of deconstructed tailoring’ & ‘before Jacquemus playfully deconstructed pinstripe tailoring, ribbed knitwear, sporty separates and innovating shirting …, the designer was more like the ringmaster of our dreams!

[Charlotte Gush 1 October, 2015 on i-D — source]

In the review “Paris Fashion Week Day, 1 Recap: …” March 2, 2016, on Fashion Bomb Daily, Olamide Oladipo mentioned that Jacquemus designs were ‘an accessible aesthetic complete with oversized geometric shaped, emphasized shoulders… certainly edgy for everyday wear…’ – source

With all that eccentricity, Simon is not without “simon-ism”. There are millions out there who love his ‘wearable’ designs and the celebrities that get into his clothes include, Miley Cyrus, Ciara, Cassie, etc. Way back in 2012, Caroline de Maigret, the famed Parisian model, music producer and author, predicted that his work was going to be ‘something really good’ though he needed some time. She even appeared in Jacquemus’ promotion video for his spring/summer collection, which Caroline Kinneberg, in her article “Caroline de Maigret Hands Out Party Invitations at Jacquemus”, Sep. 26, 2012, for The Cut, said ‘an odd video of De Maigret tending a herd of dogs’.

There’s nothing strange about Simon having a close attachment with animals — dogs, horses, donkeys, etc. — as he hailed from a rural background in the south of France. Well, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he should be showing the animals along with his models, but that’s our Simon Porte Jacquemus of Jacquemus!

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