The news at Christophe Lemaire was knitwear, which ranged from skinny ribbed essentials—some sheer like underpinnings—all the way to rugged fare like your classic army-surplus crewneck, now in mohair with satin patches. A new brick in the wall holds more sway here than it might elsewhere. That's because Lemaire isn't looking to blow your mind each season, but rather to methodically build a wardrobe, or an "alphabet of sartorial forms" as he called it. But there's subtle beauty in his workaday utility, which was on display today in twenties-inspired dropped waists and Poiret-esque coats.
As with the men's collection Lemaire showed a month ago, there was an amped level of luxury here, as well as other resonances. Lemaire carried over the Donegal tweeds, patchworked neatly into a coat and even better in a back-to-front contrast suit and a sturdy felted wool peacoat. It's hardly surprising, considering the designer's womenswear is quite masculine in its minimalist, Eastern-focused way. There's something a bit millennial Annie Hall in its jauntiness. A flippy little pleated knit mini, worn with a tabardlike vest, provided a relatively sexy counterpoint to a collection that otherwise got quite serious. Still, there's plenty of sizzle available elsewhere for those who want it, and this designer stands out in knowing his way around a luxurious product. You could see how the particular woman who likes Lemaire could easily be cultish. Now that he's settling into his role at Hermès, Lemaire is growing his own label, with a push into the U.S. Next Fall could see a whole new batch of converts.