Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran, the designers behind the Parisian label Lemaire, are in great shape for S/S 2017. The duo have designed a range of artisanally produced molded leather bags – a technique usually reserved for small leather goods like cigar cases and coin pouches – produced in the Tuscan town of Impruneta.
The accessories collection comprises curving organic and utility-focused shapes, crafted in soft vegetable-tanned leather. ‘We’ve been working with artisans in the Impruneta region for three seasons,’ explain Lemaire and Tran. ‘We’ve always admired molded leather techniques and have finally found a workshop as passionate as us in working to achieve this technical prowess.’
Lemaire’s S/S 2017 collection, with its idiosyncratically fluid lines and diaphanous shapes, works in contrast to the bulbous and geometric forms in its accompanying bag collection. ‘They hang like baubles against the drape of the clothing,’ the duo explain.
The ‘Egg Bag’, as its name suggests, boasts a balloon-like and voluminous interior, its form open to interpretation. ‘It’s tactile and curious,’ Lemaire explain. ‘One can see in it a big belly, a frog, and even a cooking pan. It’s a very comforting shape.’ The other styles in the accessories offering – including a camera bag – have more a more defined aesthetic. The former is inspired by the form and flap detail of school satchels.
‘The colours are as soft as the shapes are,’ the duo add. Alongside timeless black, the bags are crafted in olive green, raspberry and tan shades. They also complement the rusty backdrop of Impruneta, which is renowned for its terracotta production. The tones also reflect those in Lemaire’s S/S 2017 ready-to-wear pieces, like a light khaki green shirt with a deep V-neck and oversized black buttons, and deep red pleated dress layered over matching wide legged trousers.
Using a complex handcrafted process, each of Lemaire’s designs are created using a wooden last, carved into the shape of the bag. Soaked pieces of leather are stretched over the last, and a wooden frame is positioned around the shape to aid its formation during the drying process.
The frame is placed under a press before being sculpted by Impruneta’s artisans. Once the designs have been massaged towards their final shape, they are placed in the sun to dry. Then, each frame is removed, the leather is trimmed, and the pieces of leather that make up each bag are assembled. Finishing touches include hand-painted and waxed edges and minimal hardware embellishments. When it comes to artisanal prowess and attention to detail, Lemaire is in a mould of its own.
For more information, visit the Lemaire website
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