Feeling is Luxury. Lemaire AW21

I love Lemaire and I will acknowledge this a hundred times. I just don’t know how Christophe Lemaire and Sarah Linh Tran do it every single time. This level of goodness should be illegal. The co-ed autumn-winter 2021 collection is a dream, from the clothes (drooling over each garment, really) to the model casting. Partially as a result of confinement, the designers framed the development of this collection according to shifted criteria of demand: feel was as important as look, and adaptability inside and outside our front door paramount. The result was a hierarchy of layerable garments that began with a base of pajama-like pieces in cotton, silk and fine knits, in typically evocative earthy tones. These were arranged under mid-layers of Mod inspired tailoring and workwear sourced pieces, softly rendered but structured in appearance, plus Shetland knits and turtle-necks that were themselves contained within a protective carapace of excellent outerwear choices. These included a supremely livable-in reversible shearling, and greatcoats worthy of the name. Parkas and Afghans came trimmed in Mongolian wool (those pieces are delightful…); trenches and macs featured beautiful abstract marbled print; billowing robe-coats in down or alpaca were enveloping and arresting. Tran noted her favored heel height had been reduced in slouchy uppered boots as a result of her appetite for walking as much as possible when the opportunity presented itself, while men’s footwear included commando-soled slippers and the usual impeccable boot. Bags had a pouch cut like a mitten for double usage. Tran said: “during the confinement we were fantasizing about going out into the streets of Paris, and we were inspired by the idea of the flâneur from Baudelaire; going in the street with no special agenda in mind.” Taking pleasure in a purposeless saunter is a purpose in itself, and this was a collection beautifully built to enhance mindful loitering in every milieu. Added Lemaire: “Luxury is more about how you feel in the clothes than the image you project to others: this we have always been convinced of. And it’s more relevant than ever today… the changes in the rhythm of life and our habits have encouraged us to be even more attentive.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Stable and Slouchy. Lemaire SS20

At Lemaire, references and messages are absent, or very subtle, and comparing to most other labels, here the clothes do the talking. Christophe Lemaire and Sarah Linh Tran‘s woman doesn’t change from season to season – her style is consistent, just as the label’s style. For spring-summer 2020, the designers used a colour palette full of timeless neutrals, which perfectly fits their new bodysuits, pleated stone-colored chinos with a rib-grazing wrapped waistband or over-sized waxed-cotton coats. The brand showed a handful of belted styles, all of them easy enough to be tossed over a handbag strap when it gets warmer. In the designers’ words, the collection is about “stable, but slouchy” shapes. Its impossible not to be convinced by Lemaire’s comfortable elegance this season.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Classics. Lemaire SS20

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When so much is going on in menswear (especially this season), there might be a need for something classic. In this case, you can’t go wrong with Lemaire. Christophe Lemaire and Sarah Linh Tran‘s spring-summer 2020 look-book is the perfect balance of softened workwear and tailored essentials, all kept in a colour palette of powdery, earthy tones. Shirting and loose tops came in prints produced in collaboration with a marbling designer, originally a specialist on bookmaking. The collection subtly nodded to Rüdiger Vogler in 1974’s Wim Wenders film Alice in the Cities, but even not knowing that, you’re completely convinced by this line-up. That’s the power of Lemaire – references are low-key, uninvasive, and you’re focused on the clothes.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Definining Elegance. Lemaire AW19

I could write and write about each and signle look coming from Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran‘s autumn-winter 2019 collection. Everything’s just so beautifully balanced and refined. Lemaire might be defining elegance this season – I mean, just look at this all-knitted look feauturing a sweater with big shoulders and waist-highlighting button-down skirt. From masculine coats to evening dresses, there isn’t a thing about the collection that isn’t compelling. The blouson jackets with leg-o-mutton sleeves have this chic, slightly vintage-y Parisian feel about them, just like leather jackets or business-ready blazers. Some things don’t change, like Lemaire’s season-to-season goodness – and I’m fine with that.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Timeless. Lemaire AW19

Lemaire’s menswear collections aren’t obvious, but also not over-complicated. They aren’t drowned in Instaworthy runways. They just are, presented in a showroom and in their look-book. But what’s most admirable about Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran’s contribution to menswear is that their designs always look timeless. Even if the designers mention any inspirations, those musings are very personal and not too literal. “There are some references, like Nick Cave. His Birthday Party period, when he used to have his suits made in Hong Kong. Slightly ’70s,” Christophe said. But the two wanted to focus more on the shape this season. Tran added: “The silhouette is maybe more defined, and the shoulder more shaped than in previous seasons.” From loosely fitted blazers and classic trench coats to signature ‘work’ shirts and Portuguese, heeled boots, I want every single thing from this line-up. Even the berets, made in collaboration with Laulhère, look compelling. While Sarah and Christophe surely had something else on their mind, I kind of see their autumn-winter 2019 collection as the wardrobe of some Paris-based archaeologist, maybe historian, who actually looks very chic (in an intellectual way)… just a thought.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.