Top image: Edwige Belmore

“It’s really being oneself,” says Isabelle Guedon – one half of Parisian shoe duo Adieu – speaking about French musical movement, des Jeunes Gens Modernes, and its influence on her own life. “It is to conjugate dandyism and pop revolution. It’s a period when people dared because everything seemed possible.”

Emerging in the late 70s, the des Jeunes Gens Modernes (translation: young modern men) scene carved new musical ground; combining the nihilism of punk, with the glamour of new romantics and splicing electronic experimentation with bombastic French disco. Against a background of economic crisis and cold war tension, this scene provided the ultimate dance floor escapism for French youth – an underground, modernist utopia with disco balls for stars.

For Adieu founder Isabelle Guedon, this scene proved a defining moment in her life and later became a great source of inspiration for her designs. “Usually all strong [musical] streamings came from England, but this eccentric and extravagant current emerged in France and from everywhere in France, not only from Paris; it was so unexpected, and so, so symbolic and strong for us from our small country hometown! We wanted to be as beautiful as Elli and Jacno!”

As an homage to this seminal youthquake, Guedon shares Elli et Jacno’s Tout Va Sauter record alongside a personally written love letter to the cultural epoch, tracing it’s lasting impact.

Gallery: des Jeunes Gens Modernes

Isabelle Guedon on the des Jeunes Gens Modernes movement.

“How to mix dandyism and pop revolution? By daring a true Modernism, flouting propriety, good thinking, the agreed standard, silhouettes or songs that are too fashionable.

*** Frenchy but Chic ***

It happened at the beginning of the 80s, in France where modern young people, as described in the magazine Actuel, imposed the new wave as a creed: we dress with care, with provocation and creativity, we go out, we dance, we play music, fast and strong, we will sleep later. “We are so young, we can not wait,” a whole youth in motion, free thanks to the punk movement, poses and imposes its standards. These standards are flamboyant. Romantic nihilism meets the narcissism of a whole generation that invents itself in this new new wave, with new magazines, new artists, new designers, new music labels and, especially, new Ambassadors.

On the music side we mix punk guitars with the minimalism of the first synths. With urgency, the titles are short, often cold.
On the Fashion side we mix Vivienne Westwood with mid-century dandyism (Fritz Lang ’s futurism, fluo sauce and latex).
On the cinema side, the new wave is venerated, of course, in literature the new journalism comes through magazines such as Actuel, Façade and we start Gonzo style (Yves Adrien -with Növövision-, Patrick Eudeline).

In big cities, like Lyon for example, the band Marie et les Garçons (the young Marie Girard was on the drums!) or Electric Callas led by real dandy Jangill, who held their guitars like the Talking Heads in New York.
In Rennes, Marquis de Sade (who will become Marc Seberg) had nothing to envy to The Velvet Underground’s debut, and Etienne Daho who had not recorded anything yet worked with The Stinky Toys (they later became Elli and Jacno).
In Nancy, the extraordinary duo Kas Product creates the electro-clash with 30 years in advance.
In Paris, the young Taxi-Girl breaks everything on stage, Edith Nylon is a provocative.

Elli et Jacno – the French version of Debbie Harry meeting John Cale – dressed as gods, red vinyl sleeve for her, tuxedo smoking for him. Composing light songs with depressing lyrics, they represent the quintessence of these modern young people. Beautiful, elegant, indifferent.

And I admit, we identify with them, we want to be Elli et Jacno!

So for these young people of yesterday we want to perpetuate this message of independence and chic provocation!!!”

Shop Adieu here.