"A simple black summer look, with sandals." That's about as Spring/Summer as Christophe Lemaire
gets. The quiet, thoughtful designer, whose namesake line is a laboratory for his nuanced reinterpretations of international workwear, isn't a sun-and-fun kind of guy. His register is so muted, his gradations so fine, that the very introduction of a leather sandal—modeled on meduses
, French for jellies—seems likely to register on the Richter scale. Lemaire has Hermès to make bolder gestures. His own line grows tidally, shifting but never changing course entirely. For Spring, he explored the manifold possibilities of cotton, in workers' pleated chinos and printed pajama suits. It's to his credit that in a pajama-stuffed season, his carefully constructed version was among the best (and three-piece, rather than two, to boot). Last season, Lemaire took a step toward the mainstream with denim. Here he expanded his offering, creating unstructured denim blazers, elasticated denim pants (worn with a silk mousseline kurta), and most quote-unquote normal of all, his take on a five-pocket jean. He even began toying with manmade fabric blends, like a cotton/nylon hybrid for water-resistant outerwear. That these alterations didn't change the essential Lemaireness of this collection is proof positive of its essential durability. Which, in becoming water-resistant, just got a hell of a lot more durable.