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Jacquemus at 15: Inside the fashion label’s surreal marketing success

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By Amy Houston, Senior Reporter

June 7, 2024 | 6 min read

As it gets ready to commemorate its milestone with a show in Capri, industry experts look at how the brand has seamlessly intertwined celebrity, luxury and entertainment.

Jacquemus store front in Capri

Jacquemus in Capri, Italy / Jacquemus

Jacquemus has been ramping up its marketing efforts ahead of its 15th-anniversary show in Capri on Monday, June 10. The runway event will be hosted at Casa Malaparte, the modernist Italian villa perched on a clifftop that has inspired artists such as Jean-Luc Godard and Karl Lagerfeld.

In addition to the catwalk, Jacquemus has announced the opening of a boutique store on the Italian island, generating buzz on Instagram with a stylish reveal. Consequently, the excitement surrounding what the French luxury brand has planned is palpable.

This anticipation has been steadily building over the past decade within elite fashion circles and beyond. Noticeably, the marketing and advertising communities have closely observed Jacquemus as it creates cultural moments rather than merely existing within them. The brand’s viral surrealist-style CGI campaigns, collaborations with popular models like Bella and Gigi Hadid and the honor bestowed by Anna Wintour at this year’s Paris Fashion Week all contribute to its growing prestige and intrigue.

From an outsider’s perspective, it appears Jacquemus can do no wrong. There’s such a fun element to everything it does that translates in a refreshing yet clever way. But how did it achieve this level of success? What is the secret sauce and how can other brands learn from its playbook?

People love a good story

The history of the brand is crucial to its success and that all starts with its founder. The very first post on the Jacquemus Instagram account is from a personal family album and, to this day, the bio reads: ‘My name is Simon Porte Jacquemus. I like blue and white, stripes, the sun, fruits, life, poetry, Marseille and the 80s.’

The brand and person are completely intertwined. Yet, it never comes off as aggressive and the brand grows at its own pace, which is shown in a very human way. It might be a new office filled with sentimental objects or personal milestones such as becoming a father; everything is linked but always comes back to the brand.

“There’s a strong consistency in his narratives, constantly revealing new glimpses and anecdotes,” says Laurent François, managing partner at 180 Luxe and 180 Social, which counts Dior among its clients. “While hyper-fragmenting his story, he also creates disruptive ‘play’ approaches: a mini bag like the Chiquito quickly became a phenomenon, transforming from a functional product to a creative canvas for like-minded customers; a couple of months later, the mini bag evolved into a piece of jewelry.”

Fashion should be like modern theatre

Every celebrity and influencer plays a role on the Jacquemus stage. At the shows, it’s often hard to distinguish between the models and guests. Everything is embedded into the narrative but in a way that feels natural.

“Part of its strength is that it can surprise without having to resort to shock tactics. And when that is translated to the clothes themselves, they are playful without compromising wearability,” adds Susan Pratchett, president at Spring Studios London.

“These are still items that you want to wear, not just created for shock value as other brands rely on. And crucially, in a world that can feel full of bad news, it’s fashion as escapism at its very best. The definition of sparking joy.

A brand born on social media

At the heart of the success is the incredible community-management approach. “Jacquemus is the definition of a brand born on social media, which is a key part of its relevance and connection,” continues Pratchett. “For too many brands, social is still a tag-on and a one-way, static channel. Bringing more vibrancy to social and putting it at the center of development will help to drive the relevance and engagement that Jacquemus enjoys.”

François echoes that sentiment, adding that Jacquemus’s marketing employs a “stay and play” approach, akin to successful TikTok creators, consistently delivering what the community expects.

For example, a few months ago, TikToker Agathe Clément took to Instagram to express her admiration for ‘Le Prince Soleil,’ a documentary about Jacquemus directed by Loic Prigent. In an astute move, the brand reposted her story, transforming it into a creative challenge for Clément: to produce an advertisement for Jacquemus within five days.

This initiative generated significant buzz, with the episodes amassing over 1.5m consolidated views, all organically. This success underscores Jacquemus’s adeptness at engaging with and responding to its digital communities.

Frenchness, but not as we’ve seen it before

With humor in marketing and advertising hotter than ever, the French brand has found its own unique take on it. “Jacquemus has upended the highly curated and uptight polish of its luxury counterparts by creating a world that is highly personal and entertaining by the clever use of surrealistic spectacle and humor,” says Jenna Barnet, chief executive officer at Sunshine, which counts Gucci and Balmain among its client roster.

“It doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s what happens when you let pure creativity and instinct create something fresh and brand new. This is Frenchness but not as we’ve seen it: globally optimistic, artistic but accessible, an unreplicable, devil-may-care approach to its creative approach.”

The results are joyful: less deliberately overthought, over-researched marketing strategies and more what happens when you let pure unadulterated creativity and instinct form something new.

What’s next for the brand that can do no wrong?

In the long term, it will be exciting to see how Jacquemus continues to scale its brand, being so intrinsically linked to the founder. “It would be interesting to see it expand into more prestige and enduring forms of storytelling like film and TV,” concludes Sunshine’s executive vice-president of entertainment and creative, Cat Hope. “And to use its power with celebrity to create starring roles for the personalities that love its world.”

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