Lemaire Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Paris Fashion Week

Lemaire Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Paris Fashion Week

Just when you thought you knew what you were going to get from Lemaire, designers Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran shake up the formula. Their Spring collection wasn’t a radical departure, but there were more than a few pleasant surprises. To click through last season’s show is to see just the barest hint of color; today it made many appearances: on a raspberry-hued cotton shift, on the blue-gray of a crinkle-pressed dress worn over silver trousers, and on the khaki of a pair of smart wide-leg pants accompanied by a belted chintz shirt with the sheen of leather. Aside from that raspberry, these were subtle colors to be sure, but they counted as real change for this duo. Even bigger news: the delicate printed shirts, skirts, and slips that they layered with what counts as genuine abandon.

Chalk it up to the fact that Lemaire is artistic director of Uniqlo’s new Paris R&D center and its Uniqlo U line of elevated basics—or don’t? Lemaire and Tran weren’t saying—but they’ve traded in the austerity they’ve become associated with for clothes that feel more spontaneous and free. Again, it’s all relative, but there was something attractively undone about a cream-color top given odd, eccentric volumes thanks to drawstrings and the asymmetric hem skirt it was worn with. A dancer’s tank and scoop-neck top were sensual in an unforced way. Favorite outfit: a blouson jacket, relaxed top, and another pair of cool khakis with pockets on the sides of the thighs and slightly gathered ankles. The model wore it with see-through plastic slides with cone heels. For the finale, the designers sent the models out to mill around the venue randomly. It was a good metaphor for the sense of unstudied real-life chic they captured.

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