Tuesday, October 3, 2023
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Lemaire Spring 2024 Menswear

Team Lemaire doesn’t need a weather wizard to predict the Paris sky around 1pm on Wednesday. Instead, they watered the enclosed chamber of the Pierre and Marie Curie University campus and played an ambient score composed of rain, city sounds and birds. As the models arrived on the expansive runway, looking around and walking with purpose (presumably to avoid getting wet), their layers of paler shades prepared for a downpour on a summer afternoon. Despite their styles, they could have belonged to Paris…but also New York, Tokyo, Bangkok or Vietnam, and a recent trip inspired Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran to explore how travel encourages people to connect with us things to build a more deliberate rapport with.

As climate change increasingly makes the weather more unpredictable, their series goes beyond a specific starting point to tackle a generally hot topic. “We like to design from reality,” Le Maire said. “Like everyone, we are experiencing global warming and need lighter fabrics, lighter clothing, protective pieces, and we try to bring that functionality into our work.”

Tran points out that right now, his work is full of archetypal shapes—twisted, ballooned, boxy—that could be revisited season after season. Already so basic and timeless, these designs just need incremental tweaks to keep them looking fresh. “It’s just adding layers that evolve over time,” she says. While anyone versed in Lemaire’s language will find this fresh, the rest of us can appreciate how their menswear and womenswear benefit from breathable fabrics like cotton and silk; Such as drawstrings; and yes, waterproof jackets. Many of the looks appear to be convertible or adaptable in styling.

The palette brings an extra dimension with an alluring spectrum spanning earth, flesh, ink and air. Two understated prints—dark stripes and faded florals—kept the collection feeling believable and less rigid. But to see the sameness, to miss Le Maire’s approach entirely. “What we like to do is present characters, not just themes,” Le Maire said, noting that they spent a lot of time casting. “We want [models] to feel believable. For us, style is…personality and consistency of clothing.”

Current (increasingly tiresome) A fascination with quiet luxury seems to have Lemaire more important than ever. But only Lemaire packs so much versatility into its luxury. Regardless of trends, the brand will continue to exist that way — well beyond the latest sneaker and store designs. For the designer, though, the purpose of every collection—and this one in particular—is to see clothes on the street (something Balenciaga captures in its recent video as well). “What we’re interested in is trying to glorify reality. We’re supposed to learn to see reality, so we’re going to use that as a starting point … hopefully in the end we’ll look like better versions of ourselves,” Le Maire said. Or, if nothing more , a stay-dry version.



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