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Practical Sensuality at Lemaire

If the changes in Christophe Lemaire’s collections season on season are essentially incremental, they continue to defy ennui because these are clothes that come alive on the body.
Lemaire Autumn/Winter 2016 | Source: InDigital.tv
By
  • Tim Blanks

PARIS, France — It's not hard to deduce that the Lemaire collection is created by a couple who are emotionally involved. The clothes feel infused with an intimacy that could only be the result of that kind of engagement. When Christophe Lemaire rationalised a multi-buttoned blouse thus, "It makes desire grow even more when you're getting undressed," you might assume he was offering some unwitting insight into the test-driving of new products that goes on at home with his partner Sarah-Linh Tran.

But a muted eroticism has, in fact, always been the spice in a Lemaire collection. Here, he pointed to the “mannishness” of some looks as another example. There were for instance, long jackets over trousers, and a handful of the topcoats that are a Lemaire signature. “But there’s something feminine coming out of it,” the designer was quick to add, indicating the froth of foulard at the throat. For him between severity and softness lies stimulation.

Lemaire talked about a new shape, tighter in the leg, which reminded him of slim cuts in the 1970s. But it was still volume that defined his clothes. Same with the uniformly monochrome palette, save for some hot shots of colour that jarred, probably just as they were intended to.

But if the changes in his collections season on season are essentially incremental, they continue to defy ennui because these are clothes that come alive on the body. It’s that combination of practicality and sensuality again.

And Lemaire excels at the practical, like the jumpsuit here, which — given the jumpsuit’s fashion moment — may be one of the best we’ll see. His own definition of practical? The satin pyjamas topped by a padded shearling. The outfit made him think of Katharine Hepburn.

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