I’m not sure many people watching the Lemaire runway presentation this morning were actually paying attention to what was on the catwalk. Late yesterday, Japanese fashion retail giant Uniqlo announced it is partnering with Christophe Lemaire for an autumn/winter 2015 collection. Lemaire fans were immediately excited. The Uniqlo collection is not what was on the runway today, though. This was Lemaire’s standard collection for his eponymous label. That’s right, Christophe Lemaire is doing two distinctly different collections this fall. Unfortunately, the timing of the announcement may have distracted a lot of people from the content of this morning’s show.
How do I know? Lemaire sent a purse down the runway that is shaped like a very well endowed pair of bare breasts and hardly anyone noticed. Granted, we’re rather accustomed to seeing bare breasts at Paris Fashion Week, especially at yesterday’s Jacquemus show where covering them was the exception rather than the rule. Lemaire was far from being that brazen this morning, but still, one might expect at least a little giggle or twittering at the bag and … no, nothing.
Such may be the response to the entire Lemaire collection, unfortunately. While it’s quite nice, full of some wonderful coats and capes and shawls, heavy with wool, the clothes themselves are rather ordinary. Parisian trim, moderately minimalist, and void of prints or unusual color combinations, the only thing close to excitement comes in the occasionally plunging neckline, and even that is cut is such a way as to be conservatively modest. Hemlines run long unless we’re talking pants in which case it is apparently a crime this season to let them fall below mid-calf. Legs are quite broad, though, and there’s little here that wouldn’t be office appropriate.
Accessories, such as that bag, are where the real beauty lies. Belts are very creative and of a style that one will want to steal for other ensembles. Coats, ponchos, and capes are dramatic and exciting to the point one may have difficulty deciding exactly which one to add to their wardrobe. Even the shoes are worth some serious consideration.
After nine years at Lacoste and a little over four at Hermes, Christophe and his partner Sarah-Lihn Tran seems to be having some trouble finding focus for this label. The distractions are many and the Uniqlo deal is just the latest. One might have good reason to be concerned about just how long the Lemaire label will last if it doesn’t start getting some more creative attention. Collaborations are fun, but ultimately the label needs to stand on its own.