Christophe Lemaire's self-described ambition is the "ideal, essential wardrobe," a project that finds him tweaking, rather than reinventing, his collection season after season. His sensibility is nomadic, temporally and geographically both. Lemaire borrows freely from global traditions (who else offers a "Maoist architect jacket?") and skips lightly through history. Fifties workwear (of Chinese, American, and African extraction), forties textiles, eighties new wave shapes—they all go into the pot.

For Spring, Lemaire channeled "a mood of tropical night." It brought him to a lush print of flowers blooming on dark ground, and a new palette of rich cadet blues and bottle greens that, more than his usual pale neutrals, intensified his unadorned creations, from big-shouldered, boxy blazers to pleated carrot pants."I let myself go a little bit," he explained. Wretched excess it isn't, but the relaxation suits him.