Fashion Global Conversations: Jacquemus, Pyer Moss and Marni
The panel of the Fashion Global Conversations of May 7 with Simon Porte Jacquemus, Kerby Jean-Raymond by Pyer Moss, and Francesco Risso di Marni focused on reinventing themselves: how can the next generation of designers remain relevant in times of crisis? There has been no response but all three believe that they will slow down and re-invest in their own community they will be essential steps in the coming months, and even years.
With most of the world’s population still in quarantine, the guest stylists keep in touch with their digital communities via Instagram or, in the case of Jean-Raymond, through a music video that he directed with Wale. For the first time in the history of his brand, Jacquemus shot a campaign on FaceTime with protagonists Barbie Ferreira is Bella Hadid: “It was simply a way of saying that it is still possible to send a message of positivity and share fashion.”
The issue of “staying relevant” led to the conversation on other aspects of the industry, particularly the Fashion Week. Jacquemus, Jean-Raymond and Risso are not the first to point out that the rhythm of the parades has become too intense. But make sure that the fashion week becoming current again does not mean marrying the virtual world or letting brands present their collections whenever they want: “None of us would be here now without Fashion Week,” notes Jean-Raymond.
“When the most well-known fashion houses – those capable of generating a halo effect on others – present within a certain period of time, the smaller designers can join by benefiting from their position ‘on the shoulders of the giants’, aware of the fact that it will present the whole fashion system. Of course, I agree that the concept of show should change. But we must also remember that it represents an entrance door that is too important for young designers. “
Relationship with one’s own community and authenticity
It’s no secret that Jacquemus’ Instagram profile has become a real phenomenon in the last few years. The French designer posts a mix of images behind-the-scenes of his shows and glimpses of life, more photos of his childhood in Provence and many selfies, reaching an audience of 2.2 million people. It has become an integral part of his brand but, he tells us, it wasn’t a premeditated choice: “It wasn’t a marketing strategy to stay close[tomy[allamiacommunity]. I share everything I love and what makes me happy, not just fashion. This crisis has strengthened the bond with the people who follow me. “
Jean-Raymond says that he is choosing to create content and films focused on issues of interest to his followers, like racism in America and inclusiveness. The video he directed for Wale’s new track, “Sue Me,” offers a vision of what the world would look like if white suprematism and black oppression swapped roles. One scene in particular re-imagines the 2018 arrest of two African-American men at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, except that in this case, there are two whites in their place. “It’s my first music video but it certainly won’t be my last directorial project,” says Jean-Raymond. “It’s about being empathetic towards others and I think it’s very important right now.”
Risso tells us about his community at Marni and how he felt motivated and inspired by the creativity of his team during the lockdown but also stresses the importance of inviting others community to be part of his brand. Collaboration with a group of Miao ethnic embroiderers from southern China will debut in the coming months, making known the traditional techniques of this people to many who may not be aware of them in the West.
This partnership also aims to remind us of the importance of time: “It is a completely different concept in their culture. For us, time has a consequential nature, while for them it is layered, almost like a symphony, “he explains. “It’s about their story, the way they embroider and keep the craft and tradition alive. I have met women who make embroidered jackets and take almost six years to complete one. Our project has been put in stand-by but we understood the value of time. I am very curious to see what implications it will have in the future and how I can apply this philosophy to Marni “.
Jacquemus, fall winter 2020 2021 fashion show
© Photo: Getty Images
Fashion must slow down and stylists can guide you
Risso has been carrying out research on the concept of time and tradition since it became part of the brand. His interest was manifested again in the looks of the autumn 2020 collection made with Venetian weavers, who created golden tapestries to be incorporated into the garments, which are the result of a unique and laborious process. “It takes hours to make them and such a practice is decidedly against the current compared to the normal production flow of fashion,” he says.
“But it is essential to protect these traditional techniquesespecially in those countries where they risk disappearing ”. Of course, this is not possible with the current pace of fashion shows and store deliveries, which leaves little room for creativity and even less for the preservation of these ancient crafts.
“We need to review the fashion calendar. It has become so intense and the wisest choice would be to reduce it. In a sense, Fashion Week is getting very cold and people are constantly hanging on the phone rather than being busy watching the show. The experience must be made relevant, emotional and intimate again“.
Jean-Raymond has already moved away from the ultra-laborious process of fashion week, choosing one fashion show per year instead of two (or, in the case of some fashion houses, up to six!). “It is simply too hectic; it’s a bit like a dog biting its tail. It is not possible to propose new ideas in these conditions, “he says. “I find it very useful to create a single valuable collection and distribute it over the course of the year, rather than throwing four or six of them while you’re still catching your breath after the first. We don’t buy clothes at such a high rate.
It is necessary to give a collection the ‘incubation’ period it needs. In music or cinema, for example, an artist publishes an album, and then you have to give it time to mature in the mind in the audience. In fashion, we never allowed ourselves the luxury of time“. The stylist candidly talks about the criticisms he received for his decision: his list of retailers it went from 100 to less than 10, as they are not available to place large orders in one go but this choice has favored other dynamics such as collaborations, pop-up stores and business direct-to-consumer.
Until not long ago, Jacquemus it produced six collections a year but recently opted for two. “A year ago, I made the decision to slow down the company rhythm and enter into a thinking perspective that is that of my grandparents: one collection for summer and one for winter. Not more! Having more time has given the team new energy. It was an important choice for us and now, in this moment of crisis, we feel more positive than what we do “.
The designer added that the luxury sector must accept part of the responsibility for this breakneck pace and surpluses. “It is too easy to say that everything we see is the fault of fast fashion because, instead, in someone else’s eyes it could be ‘good fashion‘ accessible. It’s the way people consume it that is problematic. But luxury is also consumed in the same way. If we want to change things we need to re-educate consumers“.
Backstage at the Marni fashion show fall winter 2020 2021
© Photographed by Corey Tenold
Catwalks on the catwalk are still needed but investment in the digital experience is also needed
The question that continues to remain pending during the entire talk, and most of the Fashion Global Conversations, is what will happen during the spring 2021 collection season in September. Or will they be virtual? And, how realistic is it to think that a brand can produce a spring collection now that ateliers and factories are closed? Risso jokes by proposing the concept of four digital “events” in New York, London, Milan and Paris “as a sort of puzzle, since people cannot travel. Although, seeing the bosses in person is something we cannot avoid. I don’t believe in the format of the show virtual. We need to protect fashion shows but perhaps we need to rethink their size “.
“I love the catwalk presentations,” adds Jacquemus. “The parade is like a dance; it’s emotion – it’s not the only one lookbook. I organized them on the beach, in the fields, with horses … It is a way to express ourselves. Some of mine show they are among the most beautiful moments of my life, not for the applause or the success on Instagram, but for the emotions they gave me. I’m in backstage in tears with my family and my team and I keep many memories. I strongly believe in fashion show on the catwalk and in the emotions it is capable of arousing ”.
Even the show Jean-Raymond’s annual performances in New York are incredibly touching and emotional, especially the spring 2020 one with a live chorus at the Kings Theater. At the moment, he has no plans to show again until 2021, although he is pondering what format he can take until we find a coronavirus vaccine. “How can we show the clothes on the catwalk if i makeup artist are they afraid to touch the models’ faces?
Will sensors be installed at the event entrance to check for fever or not? I think this could be our future temporary reality. In the meantime, the gift we have available in 2020 is technology. With the opportunities offered by the internet, it won’t be the same [di una sfilata] but, perhaps, we can simultaneously combine live events with a reduced number of guests to others digitally aimed at the public. In the past, when we streamed our fashion shows, the experience was very passive, but now I think the goal will be to create digital content and invest more funds. As beings with empathy, we must do our part to counter the spread of this virus. “
Backstage at the Pyer Moss spring summer 2020 fashion show.
© Photographed by Corey Tenol