At this dawn of a new era for the business that Christophe Lemaire has built with his partner Sarah-Linh Tran, change is to be expected. But when Lemaire mentioned “erotic fever” as an undercurrent in today’s presentation, ears pricked up. Eroticism has always insinuated itself into Lemaire’s work, by dint of the simple power of the women he has individualized on his catwalks. Their absolute self-containment has always suggested they could get exactly what they wanted—if they could be bothered. Which means their powers of attraction have always been tempered by a certain offhandedness.

No longer, Lemaire seemed to be suggesting. The heat was undoubtedly turned up: more bare shoulders, more daring décolleté, maybe a heightened sense that there was nothing under some of those big beefy coats, plus a molded leather bag that Tran succinctly described as “boobs and ass.” Asked to isolate exactly how the Lemaire woman has moved on, he answered: “More dangerous, less melancholic.” Or, at the very least, more direct. There was a clear new confidence here, a direction that was already taking shape in the Lemaire Pre-Fall collection in January. The substantial masculine fabrics—melton, tweed, covert, and oil cloth—loaned themselves to the purposeful silhouettes, but there was also Lemaire’s masterful sleight of hand that could ensure a coat, however oversize it seemed, would fit neatly, delicately at the shoulder.

Fortunately, the melancholy that was such a plangent part of the Lemaire ethos hasn’t entirely been shoved into the shadows by sex. The raincoats, peacoats, and duffles still reeked of the wintry seafront at Biarritz, strolled by a woman who was content in her solitude, but alone nevertheless. And this from a design duo that very much understands that one plus one makes much more than two.

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