February 01, 2008
With a sheepskin-covered catwalk standing in for snow-covered slopes and a backdrop of crystal-clear blue sky, it seemed obvious where Christophe Lemaire was going with the latest Lacoste collection. But as his new model army marched out through a snow flurry, his manifesto shifted a little. In their rollneck sweaters, jersey pants, huge mufflers, and mutated hiking boots, his boys hardly looked prepped for anything high-performance. Instead, they were reminiscent of twenties snapshots of leisured aristos taking the Alpine air. (The vintage-look sunglasses were an additional giveaway.) And that was exactly Lemaire's intentionmore or less. A cabled sweater over a windowpane shirt over a turtleneck in varying shades of gray was typical of the muted, gentlemanly layers that characterized this opening section. Knits were defined by Art Deco graphics.
Then all of a sudden Michel Gaubert's soundtrack switched to reggae and out came a black sweater trimmed in Rasta colors and a tide of stripes. Jah love on a mountaintop? Sounds like the Jamaican bobsledding movie Cool Runnings, scarcely the most obvious reference point for a Lacoste collection. Lemaire brought it back home for a straightforward finale of sweaters and jeans. Nice, but not quite enough to restore that earlier mood of elegant tranquility.