Who’s that girl? Christophe Lemaire gave no answer to this seminal question, but he drew a convincing portrait of the mystery woman. In the vestibule of the newly renovated Maison de la Radio, the erstwhile epicenter of French radio life which had already informed his menswear collection shown last January, the designer evoked a wardrobe made for sophisticated daily dressing.
The venue itself holds special significance for Lemaire, who grew up nearby with a childhood was no doubt populated by the personable voices of Radio France’s speakers, remixed to mellifluously accompany the models. When he presented his menswear, he spoke of these pure lines and interesting curving perspective; the same words could easily be used for his work. In passing, he later referenced a portrait of Katharine Hepburn in crisp denim from the 1930s, but it wasn’t an inspiration as much as the embodiment of his ideal of purposeful dressing. For example, it doesn’t get more evident than a black turtleneck with caramel colored trousers. Drawing out proportions to elongate the silhouette, or to fully cocoon the body that was hiding in plain view. Luxury is here in the durability of well-selected materials – raw Japanese denims, thick wools, tactile silks – rather than any dash and this serves Lemaire well in his eponymous brand, and in his other endeavors.
“My girl is well covered,” he conceded wryly but there is the sense that the high collars and coiled sweater-scarves is just a practical notion than any form of puritanical design. “She’s not a fashion girl, but she’s stylish and determined, ready for the challenges of life.” The closing silhouette, in its trench-coated straightforwardness, was all the more mysterious. A spy, an adventuress, some wondered; just one elegant step ahead, in reality. Clearly he too is a proponent of slow, steady growth, as opposed to firing on all cylinders at passing trends. And in dressing this woman in pure lines that only occasionally borrow from menswear for an oversized nonchalance, it’s all the more seductive.
Watch the show!