Christophe Lemaire

Christophe Lemaire

Designer, Lemaire

Formerly the artistic director of Hermès' womenswear, the frenchman is now focused on building his own line.

France Designers 2013 BoF 500 2013

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Formerly the artistic director of Hermès' womenswear, the frenchman is now focused on building his own line.

Christophe Lemaire's live mosaic

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Biography

Having held a number of high profile design roles within the industry, french designer Christophe Lemaire is now focused exclusively on his own label: Lemaire. "The determination was always there, but my experience at Hermès has given me even more confidence," said the designer at the close of his first show since leaving the leather house.

Lemaire took up his role as the artistic director of Hermès womenswear in 2011, his final collection for the house bowed in the spring summer 2015 season. At the time Lemaire said in a statement, “Working for Hermès has been a great pleasure: a profoundly enriching experience on both a human and professional level. I am proud of what we have built together. My own label is growing in an important way and I now really want and need to dedicate myself to it fully,” he said in a statement.

Axel Dumas, chief executive of Hermès, said of the move, "I am very grateful to Christophe for the passion with which he has addressed and enriched the expression of our house in women's ready-to-wear. Under his artistic direction the métier has renewed its aesthetic and produced very satisfactory financial results."

Prior to his 2010 appointment at Hermès, Lemaire was creative director of Lacoste, a role he took up in 2001. “When Pierre-Alexis Dumas called me, I was surprised, astonished, at the same time, it seemed so obvious – the spirit of the brand – and we understood each other right away. We both had the idea of treating a piece of clothing as an object, but linked to functionality and realism,” he said shortly after his appointment.

The announcement that Lemaire would replace Jean-Paul Gaultier was met with surprise in the industry, as Gaultier’s tenure at the house had resulted in extraordinary commercial success. Lemaire quickly silenced his critics, however, crafting an aesthetic for the house that draws upon both his own paired-back simplicity and the heritage of Hermès to create effortless luxury. “I want… fashion that accompanies the personality,” says Lemaire. “Allowing freedom of movement and gesture, [the] clothes [should] allow a woman to be herself.”

Lemaire learnt his craft through internships at Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint Laurent and Thierry Mugler. The designer launched is own label ‘Crisp’ in 1992; the label produces both men’s and women’s lines and is sold in a select group of boutiques, including his own.

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