Lemaire A/W 2018
Scene setting: the show was staged on the seventh and eighth floors of the offices once occupied by the Paris newspaper Libération. Dries Van Noten held his S/S 2018 show there last June just as the company had departed, leaving files lining the shelves and the carpet tiles still in place. Since then, the building has been stripped back. It provided a fitting backdrop to Lemaire’s brand of hard-core elegance. Unfinished walls were dotted in spots of chalky plaster; the floor was raw concrete. The mood typified the label, which is deadly serious yet playfully rich.
Mood board: Lemaire’s consistent, modest extravagance was there across the 40 looks. The show opened with a double-breasted chocolate brown wrap coat in curly wool, worn with a seamless merino sweater, heavy cotton chino and leather boots. What followed were a series of the perfect wide-leg cropped trousers. The perfect vegetable tan ankle boots; high-shine Chinese loafers worn with cable-knit socks. The perfect chesterfield coat in felted wool. Water-repellent cotton twill outerwear. Easy elasticated pants!
Best in show: the label’s signature wide shouldered, roomy tailoring was still here – this time double-breasted and worn with chino cut pants in heavy wool barathea. Fascinated with the timeless nature of clothing, Lemaire’s points of reference are diverse and notably not drawn from popular culture; there are no show notes full of significant art works, films or furniture given out at the show; you are handed a list detailing the fabrics of the clothes. You’re left with just a mood, a feeling. An utterly persuasive je ne sais quoi.