For his first show “after Hermès,” Christophe Lemaire chose the Bibliothèque François Mitterand, the newest compound of the national library whose contemporary verticalities shocked when it was erected. A lover of strong, clean lines like Lemaire would have definitely been susceptible to its seemingly bare bones architecture that houses a wealth of knowledge.
Likewise, the designer’s collections have this pared-back quality to them that is a world away from fashion’s changeling nature. But their simplicity is certainly not monastic, deeply imbued with a secular connection to the urbane realities of the Lemaire woman. And roam the city this nomad does, enabled by this supporting cast of cloth. To wit, shirt-blousons, cape-shirts or wrap-over dresses cut in crisp, light materials have adaptability in their DNA. A flared dress or a denim skirt carry sweetness without feeling coy. For summer, this comes across as lightness, a certain kindness in the proportions, as well as the pragmatic sensuality of French women. A coat-dress in gabardine says so many things a slip does not, and the body unconstrained speaks volumes. The palette is likewise restrained: white, black, raw indigo, a rare red or a leafy print break the solid simplicity, manifesting an adaptability that makes a Lemaire garment fit wherever it is taken.