The Calanque de Sormiou beach, a beautiful cove at the bottom of a winding descent through a nature reserve near Marseille, is where French fashion designer Simon Porte Jacquemus chose to debut his first menswear collection to the world.
Staged on the sand inches away from gently lapping water during magic hour on a June evening, guests were assigned beach towels to sit on or directed toward large rocks to clamber up onto for a view of the show. The front row was jagged, unkempt and hardly policed in the way that a traditional front row in Paris or London might be. The Mediterranean Sea stretched out beyond the runway, providing a perfectly blue backdrop.
Why Jacquemus chose to present his collection in such a stunning location wasn’t difficult to interpret. When asked, he confirmed he was looking for paradise but also somewhere that was accessible. “This is not a luxury resort or anything like this, it’s just a paradise for everyone,”Jacquemus said. The atmosphere was remarkably relaxed and utterly different to the feel of a traditional Paris Fashion Week catwalk presentation. Shoes were removed, people smoked cigarettes and ate ice cream as they waited for the show to begin. Children swam nearby, refreshingly unaware of getting in photographers’ shots.
The collection, named Le Gadjo, captures the spirit and diversity of men from the South of France. Jacquemus, born in Provence, returns to the area often, and his Instagram feed is largely a tribute to long days on the beach, his family and the unique color palette of the region.
Sandy hues, striking blues, olives and orange shades sampled from coastal sunsets made their way down the runway. Casual tailoring mixed with swimwear and tracksuits; the knitwear was laid-back, the sort of thing you would throw on after showering the sand off on a cooler summer evening.
The cast of models was diverse and gorgeously youthful. Staying on afterward to hang out, a group of models gathered on the rocks playing music on their iPhones as the sun set. From a distance they looked like local teenagers.
Photo credits: Getty Image.