Simon Porte Jacquemus Named Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters

Simon Porte Jacquemus Named Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters

The French Designer was Decorated by Anna Wintour During the Moving Ceremony

Simon Porte Jacquemus was honored as a Knight of France’s Order of Arts and Letters for his significant contributions to the fashion industry in a heartfelt ceremony held on Saturday at his brand-new headquarters in Paris.

Among the attendees were notable figures such as Laetitia Casta, Carine Roitfeld, Amanda Lear, Amina Muaddi, and Tina Kunakey, alongside members of the French designer’s family, including his grandmother Liline and his husband Marco Maestri. The event, held during Paris Fashion Week, was also graced by Delphine Arnault, chairman and CEO of Christian Dior Couture and the driving force behind the LVMH Prize for Young Designers, who came to show her support for Jacquemus, a runner-up Special Prize winner at the 2015 edition of the award.

The prestigious decoration was bestowed upon Jacquemus by Anna Wintour, global editorial director of Vogue and chief content officer of Condé Nast, acting on behalf of former French culture minister Roselyne Bachelot.

“Simon’s story is of a young man who started his label by defying convention, by listening to his friends and to his heart. Instead of breaking into the business the old way, getting a degree, working with a major designer, he burst onto the scene using everything he could to stir up attention,” she said.

She described how over 15 years, Jacquemus has built a strong following thanks to his sensual Mediterranean aesthetic drenched in vibrant color, and ignited a global craze for micro bags with his bestselling Chiquito handbag, including a miniature version that fits into the palm of one hand.

“He is a new kind of French designer, creative and entrepreneurial in equal measure and always, always focused on a sense of community,” continued the Vogue editor in chief. “He’s a most, most worthy recipient of the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, not just for his great and inclusive vision of fashion, but for the joy and the optimism he brings with it,” she concluded before pinning the medal on his suit jacket.

The 34-year-old designer briefly spoke in English to thank Wintour for her support, and paid a moving tribute to his mother Valérie, who died when he was 18.

“Years ago when I lost my mother, I left with her only one thing,” he said. “I left with her a Vogue, and I promised her to be in Vogue. That’s tonight a full-circle situation, so thank you Anna.”

After a speech by journalist and writer Sophie Fontanel exalting his knightly qualities, he resumed speaking in French, recalling how his mother had encouraged him without fail even when he was bullied at school for being different.

“I’ve never stopped dreaming. If I could meet the 18-year-old Simon, I would hug him and tell him that the best is yet to come,” he said.

Jacquemus is also set to receive the 2024 Neiman Marcus Award for Innovation in the Field of Fashion in a separate ceremony in Paris on Sunday.