Having held a number of high profile design roles within the industry, including an artistic directorship at Hermès, French designer Christophe Lemaire is now focused exclusively on his own label: Lemaire. Since solely focusing on his own line, turnover almost doubled from $1.8 million in 2013 to $3.5 million in 2014 and, according to projections by the company, will reach $6.2 million by the end of 2015. Lemaire has also collaborated with Japanese retail giant Uniqlo, to produce menswear and womenswear collections, launching for Autumn/Winter 2015 and Spring/Summer 2016.
Lemaire, who learned his craft through internships at Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint Laurent and Thierry Mugler, first came to prominence as the artistic director of Lacoste. He stepped down in 2010 to assume the role of artistic director at Hermès. The announcement that Lemaire would replace Jean-Paul Gaultier at the respected French luxury label was initially met with surprise in the industry. However, Lemaire quickly silenced his critics, crafting an aesthetic for the house that drew upon both his own paired-back simplicity and the heritage of Hermès to create effortless luxury. He remained with the brand for four years before stepping down to focus on his own label.
In June 2016, it was announced Lemaire would be joining Uniqlo, as artistic director of a new Uniqlo Paris R&D Centre, a research and development centre in Paris that Lemaire would staff and lead, building an entirely new design concept within the Uniqlo brand, a more refined version of the company’s “LifeWear” ethos — but integrated into the core offering, as opposed to some kind of “black label”. Lemaire was also appointed to design a new Uniqlo line, dubbed Uniqlo U.