February 02, 2007
The ineffable Frenchness of Lacoste under the design directorship of
Christophe Lemaire was instantly established by the Citroën
rammed through the wall at the end of the catwalk. Its headlights
illuminated an autumn woodland setting, through which aquiline
Parisian weekenders paraded a selection of haute bourgeois
leisurewearat least, that was the effect Lemaire was aiming for.
Juicing up an institution as august as Lacoste might seem a little
like attempting a three-point turn with the Queen Mary, but a recent GQ interview had the designer expressing his conviction that freshness and positivity could be enough to add a hint of subversion. By those standards, the first outfita navy-and-white striped top, navy blazer, and white jeans rolled over bootswas positively revolutionary.
Lemaire claimed inspiration from French movies of the mid-seventies,
though the self-absorbed centerpieces of those Gallic gabfests would
probably have been taken aback by the zap of the designer's color
palette: orange and turquoise aren't trad BCBG tones. On the other
hand, shearling-lined leather blousons, corduroy blazers, and the
leather-buttoned cardigan (with a chunky faux-sheepskin shawl collar)
were entirely appropriate garb for the kind of man who might tuck a
copy of Cahiers du Cinéma under his arm before venturing out to a brasserie. A plain old Lacoste polo shirt seemed long ago and far away.