Monday, 25 April 2011

Christophe Lemaire AW11


The name Christophe Lemaire has been bouncing around my head causing excitement with every ricochet for some time now. With each passing season, the seasoned design talent honours a subtle and quiet elegance by creating a seemingly timeless collection of luxuriously simple basics. Heavy figures, with supple and full outlines, are worked in fluid fabrics that fall in an effortless manner and wrap the body without ever concealing it. Lemaire creates an essential wardrobe by putting together the clean and calm lines of western wardrobe with the sophisticated ease and generosity of volumes of traditional eastern garments. It is this very wardrobe that I long to have.

After honing his skills with Yves Saint Laurent and Thierry Mugler, as well as Christian Lacroix and Jean Patou, Lemaire launched his own label in 1991. He has since restored Lacoste's iconic image whilst being its artistic director from 2000 to 2010. Twenty years since starting his own label and the designer has remained relatively unknown. One gets the feeling that this is just how he prefers it. Lemaire is a designer far more interested in style than fashion, the trends and fanfare of fashion are far less important to him than the simple quality of his creations. However, AW11 is a significant season for the design talent. Last month saw the unveiling of his highly anticipated Hermes debut. Whilst filling the rather large shoes of Jean Paul Gaultier with widespread acclaim, Lemaire continued the quiet evolution of his own label.

The AW11 collection takes its inspiration from Serguei Parajanvov, Georgian film director and visual artist known for living elsewhere, in dreams made of myths and icons including David Byrne, Nicolas de Staël and John Luly where a love for beauty and for light in its uncertainty of location and time blend with the rich colours of his images. To mark this significant season, we were fortunate enough to ask the designer about the maturity of his label and his hopes for the future whilst taking a closer look at his latest creations...


SS:What were your inspirations, your dreams and the driving catalyst behind launching your own label? Both in 1991 and then your return to it in 2007.
Christophe Lemaire: From the very beginning to this point, I have always been driven by the same idea: trying to create in my clothes the perfect synthesis between simplicity and quality. This idea has just grown up with maturity.

SS: How has the label and your approach to it evolved over the years?
Christophe Lemaire: I strive to improve the same pieces season after season. We really push the idea that once you like a garment you want to wear it all the time . We give that possibility by offering a perfect basic in a wide range of fabrics.

SS: What were the first and last item you remember designing?
Christophe Lemaire: Uniforms!

SS:Your collections are always a wonderful blend of references. What was your initial starting point for AW11?
Christophe Lemaire: I like the idea of synthesis as well as blurring the frontiers between genres. I don’t want the references to be too obvious.


SS:How did the varied figures of Sergui Parajanov, Nicolas de Stael, John Lury and David Byrne influence your designs?
Christophe Lemaire: Serguei Parajanvov’s movies for textures and colors that mix with a very poetic and refined sensitivity. David Byrne for the effortless sharp sense of style. Nicolas de Staël for the beautiful obviousness of a black shirt and a black pleated pants. John Lury for the sophisticated ease.

SS: As a designer, would you agree that you are more interested in style than fashion. How would you describe your approach to design?
Christophe Lemaire: Observing our everyday gestures, environment, and responding to it.

SS: Your designs continually evolve to push a form of luxury fashion to new limits. Proportion, silhouette, cut, fabric and method are all central components. What is luxury to you?
Christophe Lemaire: Time.

SS: There is a definite sense of timesless-ness to your designs. Withe each collection you create an era defying wardrobe consisting of exacting basic pieces whilst experimenting with shape, cut and form. If you could go back in time and experience one moment or era of fashion, what would it be?
Christophe Lemaire: The 20’s were a fantastic innovative era, liberating the body and mind, and radically switching from the western tradition of corset to the Asian tradition of tunic and kimono, or the ancient Greece art of draping: all about shoulder and hips.


SS: The idea of a personal uniform is something that we've been mulling over since before we even started the blog. The concept of uniform is certainly an important facet of your work - do you have a personal uniform?
Christophe Lemaire: Three-pleated pants, an officer collar shirt and a double-breasted jacket as easy to wear as a waistcoat, all in the same fabric. Wool flannel for winter, linen and cotton for summer.

SS: How has the oft cited Walter Albini phrase, 'Sometimes to dress is to leave a little', influenced you as a designer?
Christophe Lemaire: To dress is to say what you would like to be, how you see yourself. There is something very playful about it, you need to dream. It is actually something quite deep.

SS: Finally, how do you see Christopher Lemaire, the brand, developing over the next few seasons, as you simultaneously take on the creative director role for Hermes?
Christophe Lemaire: We want to develop Christophe Lemaire as a lifestyle brand and edit complementary objects to the collection. Also, the Paris shop should be a unique place where people can come for advise and find a piece that will respect their individuality. Of course, collections should always improve.

Christophe Lemaire Homme
All images courtesy of Christophe Lemaire and taken by Axel Jansen


David Watts said...

Great piece!

Anonymous said...

Lovely, just lovely.

Maria said...

thank you for the interview, what an intresting read & designer!

best, maria

Mykita said...

Great collection, i agree.


Related Posts with Thumbnails