Amid the immaculately trimmed gardens of the Palace of Versailles, Jacquemus presented its Fall 2023 collection along the Grand Canal. It was an all too fitting setting for the clothes, which raised the question of whether the design came before the venue confirmation, or vice versa.
The show, entitled ‘Le Chouchou’, naturally went viral before models even hit the runway due to its notable configuration, where guests were seated in white row boats floating along the placid water. If it wasn’t clear by the sheer scale of the setup, the show has been a long time in the making—an entire year, to be precise, but if anyone can breathe fresh air into the 17th-century structure, it’s Simon Porte Jacquemus.
“My brand is really linked with the youth, which is why I think Versailles wanted to have me,” he said, with Jacquemus’ CEO Bastian Daguzan adding that the intention was to showcase the enduring legacy of the institution—which is open to the public—to a younger generation. “We wanted to show that you can also have a date here or come and be in a boat, and it can be beautiful. It’s us showing that if they [the young people] want to, they have access to it,” he said.
The collection itself felt like a means of connecting Gen Z with fashion’s long history with royalty. Inspired by the storied walls of the Palace, as well as its one-time visitor, Princess Diana.
Odes to the late royal were clever and a delight to fans who could link the referential pieces. Signature sapphire and pearl jewellery on Kendall Jenner was a clear nod to Di’s famous engagement ring—now on the hand of Kate Middleton—as well as her ‘Revenge Dress’ accessories. A major theme across most looks were the bulbous puffs that were anchored by tailoring, delicate lace and solid block colours. The volume was romantically reminiscent of both typical court attire and Princess Diana’s ’80s silhouettes.
“Everything was looking like a big chouchou,” said Jacquemus, “I think it’s nice to have something super precise that people remember. They can know that it is the Chouchou collection and remember the castle and the puffiness.”
With almost every look, square-toe mules were worn with stockings and knee-high lace socks with floral embroidery, injecting a smooth dose of Balletcore into the already coquettish collection.
In a notable look, Imaan Hammam wore a structured jacket that cinched her waist and a pair of white bubbly mini shorts styled over stockings with black cap-toe Mary Jane heels. In her hand dangled a Jacquemus bag with a micro size to rival the brand’s other signature purses. Before the show, Hammam shared a photo on Instagram of the moodboard backstage, where a Princess Diana outfit could be seen serving as a key inspiration. The outfit consisted of a striped bubble hem skirt that the princess wore to Cannes in 1987, worn underneath a fitted white blazer with black cap-toe pumps.
Danish model Mona Tougaard closed the show in a sheer red top that tied together at the front with a cascading train that flowed behind her. The look repeated the two that came before it, which were rendered in white and blue, appearing in the order of the French flag.
This story first appeared on GRAZIA International.