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Source: Harper's Bazaar

When Simon Porte Jacquemus stages a runway, you pay attention. You watch for the clothes that exude nonchalance, sex appeal, and a certain "It" quality that countless other brands so desperately attempt to recreate. But we know this is not the only thing tat you are waiting— the setting, the A-lister attendees, the copious Instagrammable details. These are some of the many aspects from which the French designer has been known for. And Jacquemus' Fall/Winter 2023 Collection, held at Versailles on June 26, was no exception to his lauded legacy.

After the show, the designer said it was a year in the making, adding rather tantalizingly that it was the beginning of a relationship with Versailles. Jacquemus also suggested that his brand is linked with youth; it's why Versailles wanted his collection to be displayed there. CEO Bastien Daguzan elaborated: "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." That's the Jacquemus magic trick—no matter how big, far, or spectacular, it always feels within reach.

Jacquemus came to Versailles for his first date with his now husband and had always dreamt of showing up at the palace. "A year ago, I had a vision and sent an email to Bastien with two pictures of Versailles. I told him I wanted people arriving by boat and looking at the Collection from the boat," said Jacquemus after the show. And that's what happened.

Guests were escorted to the runway on quaint little off-white bateaux, and as we docked, models stepped out and walked in front of us with the palace in the background. But why was it outside the palace? According to Jacquemus, it was vital not to arrive in Versailles with lousy taste. It's also very Jacquemus to be in the landscape instead of being in the gold.

Entitled "Le Chouchou," a French word that means dear or darling, the showing was filled with tutu panniers, sheer peplum tops, and bubble hems—a frothy and feminine mix that will leave you craving cake. But surprisingly, Marie Antoinette, the famed royal who lived lavishly in the castle and encouraged her civilians to feast on confections, wasn't the eponymous designer's inspiration.

In an interview with Vogue, the designer revealed that Jacquemus' Versailles show was a homage to Princess Diana. Since the first moment this is remarkable because the invitation to the Jacquemus show was inspired by a note Princess Diana wrote before she passed away, to charity worker Simon Barnes on December 21, 1996.

Source: Twitter

There were explicit references to some of Princess Diana's most iconic fashion moments. Kendall Jenner walked the runway in a cumulus cloud-like mini romper resembling the late royal's puffed-up wedding gown. Jenner also wore a pearl choker necklace fit with a sapphire center, an explicit reference to the jewelry Princess Diana wore with her revenge dress. In fact, that necklace is one of the more ubiquitous and oft-recreated pieces of fashion's history. This sapphire stone also pays tribute to Princess Diana’s iconic sapphire engagement ring, now on the hand of Kate Middleton.

Source: Vogue Runway Source: Cosmopolitan Source: People Source: People

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 mood board 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.

Source: Vogue Runway Source: Maria Claire Source: Instagram

One more look that Jacquemus presented was a mesmerizing black and white polka dot dress that paid homage to the timeless elegance of Princess Diana. This exquisite garment combines elements from various outfits. The dress features a nod to Diana’s renowned black and white printed Jan Vanvelden puff-sleeve blouse, famously worn at a polo match in 1983, capturing the essence of her effortless style. The dress also reminisces Diana’s polka dot dress worn to a 1986 derby. Completing the ensemble, black and white Mary Jane shoes gracefully enhance the overall allure.

Source: Vogue Runway Source: Pinterest Source: Pinterest

Apart from this, it was really compelling the designer’s inventive tailoring, which at times felt like a callback to his earlier collections (even if the fit here was a bit of an issue). There were the backless blazers like the one he debuted at The Met earlier this year on Bad Bunny, here with cutouts that exposed tutus. Also fun were tutus converted into micro shorts and presented as puffy boxers peeking out of men’s trousers—this was Jacquemus at his most sincere, offering a playful interpretation of royal dressing.

Paris last week was a battle of the Titans. In an industry where bigger and louder is better and where it is often more about how and where clothes are shown than the clothes themselves, Jacquemus keeps setting his own bar higher. “There’s always a next story to tell. It’s not always bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger. It’s only something else,” he said. There was no Battle at Versailles this time, just a victory lap for Jacquemus—one all of his own making, and of course, by inspiration of the loved one, Lady Di.

Source: Vogue Runway

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