Cederic Jacquemyn – SS16 collection. Photos: Yves de Brabander
Cederic Jacquemyn’s collections are characterised by slim silhouettes, layering and tactile fabrics used in a sculptural way. Anyone who sees his clothing and knows about these things doesn’t find it difficult to see that his work sits proudly in the lineage of earlier generations that graduated from Antwerp’s prestigious fashion academy, each bringing his or her own individual contribution to the discussions that seem to preoccupy this most conceptual of fashion hot beds: (de)construction, the history and ethnography of clothing and, of course, the craft of making fashion that says something other than the usual soundbites.
Cederic Jacquemyn graduated in 2010 and has been steadily producing menswear collections ever since. His collaboration with the photographer Yves de Brabander has also been there since the outset and together the clothing and the representation of the clothing as imagery, even occasionally film, has shaped the brand’s unique signature.
Though incredibly comfortable and wearable, his are not what you could call practical clothes, at least not in the sense of offering an image of male style that can be easily assimilated into the usual dress codes of mainstream fashion. And that’s probably because there is always something fantastical about his garments; a sense of communicating ideas from another dreamy reality. There’s a definite air of Romanticism (as in German not Classix Nouveaux) flowing through his collections.
His SS16 collection is no exception. Its eclectic mix of influences and ideas draws on everything from traditional Japanese costume to subculture dandies, formal considerations concerned with the sculptural or 3-D nature of clothes themselves and even a bit of ‘Game of Thrones’ medievalism chucked into the mix. They are not clothes that accept that life is any more real just because you’re wearing normative clothing. Instead they seem to insist on their own reality where, to dress in them, almost wards of the limitations of daily life. In that sense, fantastical. But, never delusional: they are self-aware of treading a directional line without resorting to cheap tricks trying for shock value. They are carefully and caringly constructed. So much so, in fact, that these are clothes that when you see someone wearing them, you’re drawn in, curious to see exactly how they’ve been made.
This skill that Jacquemyn shares with other good designers -and it must be noted that Belgian designers in particular are very good at it- is part of the joy of wearing them, the true exclusivity of wearing something that hasn’t even been made in the same way as other clothes. In other words, they are clothes that demand an owner with a compatible mindset, a bit like rare or unusual pets.
The rigorously minimal palette of deep oatmeal browns, grey, ashen charcoal and as always, black, black, black is a key feature of the collection, as is the pulled-in cuts and tight fits interspersed with flowing layers and light fabrics of semi-transparent weaves. The garments are matched with big, bold bags, a collaboration with Nico Uytterhaegen. Too daring for some and the envy of others.