PARIS, France — There was a hint of it in the men’s collection Christophe Lemaire and Sarah Linh-Tran showed in January, a consideration of their own back pages, but the couple pushed it further for their latest, with elegant Middle and Far Eastern volumes and a return of the spirit of the fashion nomad that once loaned their designs a poignant romance. What’s evolved since those early collections is, of course, an accomplished Western tailoring. In a word, coats! Lemaire and Linh-Tran have married East and West - and each other - to create their distinctive design signature. As in life, so in art.
It worked beautifully with the new collection. The layering, the wrapping, the draping and tying in soft silks, wools and cottons brought fluidity and sensuality. There were echoes of caftans, kimonos and kurtas but they were re-proportioned, so nothing ever looked literally ethnic, even when it was coloured in cinnamon, curry or kumin.
In keeping with the notion of the nomad, the designers referred to their inspiration as “a walking woman”. As she moved, her clothes moved with her, swirling poetically. At the same time, there was something oddly futuristic about the collection, almost as though you were getting a preview of the uniforms of a Utopian off-world community. Slightly serious, slightly spiritual…and blessed with some of the best bags of the season.