This time last year, Instagram was awash with images of Simon Porte Jacquemus' giant pink catwalk on the lavender fields of Provence – and the designer has done it again, creating a viral fashion moment, this time with a 600 metre-long, snaking wooden runway in a wheat field an hour outside of Paris.
The spring/summer 2021 show – which was announced just a few weeks ago – marks one of the first major fashion spectacles to take place since the coronavirus pandemic forced countries worldwide into lockdown. It was on a much smaller scale than initially planned in terms of guests and in the size of the collection, but the snaking runway allowed for both drama and social-distancing guidelines to be followed. Entitled 'L'Amour', the collection was dedicated to his hardworking team.
"As an idea for this collection, L’Amour began as something different," the designer said on Instagram. "I imagined people gathered together celebrating love. Alexander Ekman’s choreography of wheat tossed passionately through the air. Emir Kursturica’s film, Time Of The Gypsies with its enchanting realism. These scenes of ceremony large and small. But what’s so beautiful about L’Amour is how it can endure — sometimes even grow stronger — in the absence of people being together."
Jacquemus explained that the pandemic changed the idea behind the collection, but that a decision made a few seasons ago to merge the men's and women's collections ended up "saving" them this spring/summer as all the fabric orders has already been made.
"Not long after my team was separated from each other, we were all in our homes feeling the desire to work, and a new vision of the collection emerged. We became a human chain, every step of the creative process executed with love.
"In fact, every decision I make concerning Jacquemus is motivated first by love and common sense. It’s why we shifted to a more sustainable rhythm last year, with two shows combining menswear and womenswear, held in January and June. This decision ended up saving us this season, since we had received all our fabric orders ahead of the confinement. Deciding to go ahead with our usual collection schedule and with a show is at the heart of our visual identity, our commercial strategy."
Jacquemus is not the first designer to return to the catwalk in some format following the worldwide lockdown that took place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Dolce & Gabbana held its Alta Moda show a few weeks ago, while Alexis Mabille hosted a couture show, but both were to no audience. Dior is set to hold its cruise show this week, also to no audience, whereas Valentino will put on a couture show to a small number of local press in Rome – and the September ready-to-wear shows have been confirmed to be taking place in physical form in London, Paris and Milan.
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