"Gaiters in knitted yak wool." Who wouldn't thrill to see such an arcane phrase in the context of the usual mundane descriptives on a fashion presentation's run of show? Christophe Lemaire was the originator of such a reference today, and it fell right in line with the Lemaire woman as he sees her. Smart, mysterious, well traveled enough that when (if?) she needs gaiters, she snaffles them up in yak wool from her Kathmandu connection. The type of woman who, in other words, left us feeling like we'd just been seduced by a Mata Hari when the last model sauntered off the catwalk in the ne plus ultra of trench coats.
Lemaire showed in the Maison de la Radio, home to France's version of the BBC or NPR. His soundtrack was an artful collage of spoken and musical broadcasts, which promoted the notion that his woman was engaged in espionage of some kind. That cinematic quality has informed his work with Hermès, as well as his own collections, but it's a subtle thing, inspired not just by the way his clothes straddle West and East (yak wool?) but by the way they evoke fabulous female icons like Ingrid Bergman and Katharine Hepburn. And season by season Lemaire just gets better at it.
There was an intelligent utilitarianism to the clothes he showed today. They served a practical purpose, in distinctly unfancy fabrics like indigo denim and felted wool. But at the same time there was a sensuality in the volume and drape. Nothing overt—just a fine, strong line and a supremely confident cut. Like that very last trench coat: irresistible.