>> If young London designers come from a tradition of never fearing the subversive, the questionable and the downright perverse, then young Paris-based designers (who aren't two a penny like they are here…) have mostly played by the rules. When I last wrote about the young French label Jacquemus, I remarked that whilst French houses flourished, young talent doesn't necessarily do the same in Paris. The tides are changing what with New York's MADE making its debut in Paris and designers like Julien David, Anthony Vaccarello and Olympia Le Tan doing much to inject new face vitality into Paris Fashion Week. And now we have Jacquemus, a label designed by a very young Simon Porte, a veritable outsider who hails from a small town in the South of France, daring to explore something a little subversive through his collections that come complete with film and ambiant lookbook to set the scene. From deranged female factory workers to crazed dog lovers, Porte is tapping into parts of the female psyche and coming up with clothes that have few contemporaries to compare to. They're naive, a little bit slap dash even but at the least, they're saying something that feels personal to Porte.
Watch the film for his current A/W 12-3 collection Le Sport 90 (available at Opening Ceremony) and you're immersed into this suburban girl listening to her walkman, snogging her boyfriend, experiencing teen angst and all the while looking seductive in the unlikely combinations of oversized pinstripe and silver/neon vinyl. I'm looking at her running through that street and wondering how the awkwardness of her outfit is looking so damn appealing. To put it bluntly (and to look at it through my British eyes), she looks like a hot chav. You may wince at that word and no, it's not very politically correct to be throwing it around but like so many young British designers (particularly in menswear) who have explored the aesthetic upsides of "chav" culture, it's interesting that on the other side of the channel, you have a young designer doing the same thing through his own distinctly French filter. We all know about the perceptions of glamour and elegance of Paris but the hidden layers of French suburbia feel like unexplored territory, something that Porte seems to be good at articulating in his work at Jacquemus.