For his first pre-collection, Maxime Simoëns was intrigued enough by the cyclical nature of both trends and economic downtowns that he decided to use the New Deal as a starting point. It’s time to give the fashion market a boost, he said with a coy smile, standing in his recently renovated Paris showroom (turns out, Simoëns has a knack for lighting design, too). Thankfully, he had no interest in revisiting the Great Depression. Instead, he used architectural lines and Art Deco flourishes set within a red-black-white scheme to pack a confident, powerful punch.
Simoëns is smart to seize on his recent press exposure. The strict, figure-flattering gown worn by Léa Seydoux the night she accepted the Palme d’Or last month reappeared, only now in reverse coloration (white dress, black flared gilet). Simoëns also tweaked a knee-length number worn by Emma Watson to the MTV Movie Awards.
Since launching his namesake line, the young designer has been transitioning from couture to high-end ready-to-wear. And it was easy to spot his happy medium; Simoëns wove paper thread into wool to create a textural chevron pattern and had snap closures specially made so that both top and bottom discs were flat and matte. His bar-code signature appeared as a striated print, and was more abstracted on skinny leather belts.
Regardless of brand positioning, Simoëns remains hyperconscious of silhouette. One jacket skimmed the ribcage only to extend away at the hips like a squared-off peplum. It’s the type of waist-emphasizing legerdemain that puts him a cut above the rest. Basic silk tees and crepe shirtdresses with transparent sheer panels functioned as a relaxed, commercial counterpoint. Simoëns, who now has financial support from LVMH, seems ready to strategically expand his retail presence. His press notes were telling, hinting at his belief in a “creative renaissance” for “young houses that [will] move French fashion into the future.” And this, ultimately, explains Simoëns’ ambitious new deal—it’s the one he has made with himself.