Upon arrival at this evening's Jacquemus
show, guests were handed white hospital smocks, each of them with hand-appliquéd blobs of color on them, and asked to put them on. Why? The models were going to paintball the crowd, one attendee mooted. "Water?" suggested another, more circumspectly. As it turns out, the smocks didn't serve a practical purpose: After his show, Simon Porte Jacquemus explained that it was a conceptual gesture, a way of obliterating fashion hierarchy and immersing showgoers in the Jacquemus world. "It's like a child who's into circles, and he goes around making everyone else get into circles," the designer explained. The fact that paintballing models were seriously wondered about in the front row is a good measure of the sense of possibility surrounding Jacquemus; the fashion pack attends to him as a young designer capable of surprising them. Meanwhile, Jacquemus' explanation for the smocks had a lot of charm. But it hinted at the limitations of his approach. For this was, indeed, very much a collection based on the idea of making everyone get into circles. The very first look, for instance, was in essence a construction of circles, which was intriguing but not very convincing as a garment a young woman would want to wear. And that issue plagued this very cheerful outing. You could pluck out the viable looks—Jacquemus' very cool slouchy trousers, for instance, or a net crop top and pencil skirt with white oval appliqués, or a sexy yellow jumpsuit in neoprene. But a few of the silhouettes here did seem rather silly, like a comedy oversize suit. And perhaps more problematic, many of these looks were just plain ungainly. There's more to fashion than flattery, of course, but this collection could have benefitted from a bit more consideration of the end customer and how she wants to look and feel in the clothes. Most of us have had that experience of wearing something a little embarrassing for the sake of a kid—in fact, the experience was enacted, smock by smock, by the guests at the Jacquemus show tonight. But it's not an experience most women are shopping for.