Simon Porte Jacquemus presents “Le Chouchou”, the Maison’s third self-published title after “MARSEILLE JE T’AIME” (2017) and “IMAGES” (2020). The new publishing project captures the essence of the latest “Le Chouchou” fashion show through the eye of Martin Parr. On the occasion of the Autumn-Winter 2023/24 show, Simon Porte had invited the iconic photographer, known for his peculiar humour-filled vision, to document the event. The book chronicles the clichés – which Parr loves so much – through a documentary approach. From the very beginning, the British photographer has portrayed contemporary society with ruthless and amused irony, producing images that have become true symbols of our time for their intrinsic quality of depicting contradictions and an apparent “aesthetic of the ugly”. The sequence of the photographer’s shots actually shows something we are not used to noticing in a fashion show: the beauty of the models, the details of the preparation stages, or moments usually reserved for behind the scenes because they are considered to be in bad taste, such as the hot tourists in the Château’s Gardens of the Versailles Palace.
Parr’s unprecedented 360° view of “Le Chouchou” at Versailles teases out the grandeur of the place, debunking fashion glamour through candid portraiture and an irreverent vision of fashion theatre.
Browsing through Parr’s photographs in “Le Chouchou”, one perceives a further reading of the show itself: fashion is here laid bare by a careful gaze that does not just want to narrate a glamorous world, but rather to reveal the more grotesque and unintentionally comical aspects of an increasingly globalised and aestheticising reality. The setting is in fact the famous Palace of Versailles and its majestic park, the Bourbon residence that was the seat of political power of France’s kingdom until 1789, and the home of Marie Antoinette. With its colours, lawns, golden fountains and canals, it is one of the most impressionistic locations in Europe, perfect for Simon Porte’s collection of coquette aesthetics. The photographer’s anthropological and sociological approach leads him to linger on passers-by along the red carpet of the Grand Canal, always ready to catch the mistake or careless gesture of some guest. An uncomfortable balance between imperfection and randomness, as is his style. Thus, between lots of tulle, bold shapes and bulging silhouettes, Martin Parr and the French designer question the superlative, the abundance and the composed glamour of the villa, looking for a messy spontaneity. Le Chouchou documents Jacquemus deconstructed silhouettes, ultra-transparent or, conversely, opaque looks, contradicting the pared-down aesthetic with a hymn to informality, and offering a further reading of the creative process.
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