So the heavy lifting was left to the audience. Not hard, because it was quite obvious. The single sleeve of a white shirt, foundation stone of the male uniform, attached to a pinstripe body. A grey flannel jacket, reversed, as a dress. Tuxedo shirts, cut on the bias, also forming dresses, of a kind. White cotton sleeves as gauntlets. A suit drawn as a forensic outline on a flat pinstripe canvas. It was like ‘Daddy the businessman’ taken apart on a CSI slab.
It’s been a while since there was a designer so fiercely one-legged-pant conceptual, yet so hot rep-wise that the fashion caravan would willingly trundle to the outskirts of town to quietly sit in a circle in an industrial hangar while a small child pushed a huge ball of red laundry across a cavernous space. This Sisyphean spectacle was the prelude to a show that was interrupted by the designer himself leading a white horse across the same space while the same put-upon child dragged a gigantic red tie behind him. The obvious message might be that it’s hard to be a man. Ties are a drag. So’s laundry. Which is true.
But we were onlookers to a collection of womenswear. And Jacquemus was enacting something a lot more disturbed. Le Nez Rouge, he called his show, the red nose he’d acquired from a summer of misery. Crying a lot. His collection was, he claimed, a poetic response to that, gender be damned. That was why the leitmotif was a red circle.
It was undoubtedly significant that the show was open to the public, tickets allocated through a competition. That demands spectacle of a designer. Hence, the white horse. To Jacquemus, the horse represented faith in the midst of the psychological crisis that inspired the collection. To the people who won tickets, it probably said WOW, a fashion show. To anyone else, with access to the back story, it felt like sitting through someone else’s therapy session.
It needs to be added that no children or animals were harmed during this production. The boy was Jacquemus's young cousin Jean. In the end, it was a family affair.