"I don't like to be called a Puritan," said Christophe Lemaire today in a wry acknowledgment of the fact that the monk-ish, Eastern-inspired volumes of his clothes have occasionally conspired against fashion horndoggery. But sensibilities shift, and now it's adult-onset sensuality that's conspiring to loan Lemaire's creations a grown-up physicality. For example, the long knit shift, (un)buttoning all the way down the back. There was still the lightness, the purity, the restrained palette of white, navy, and sand, but with more of a sensual flow. Today, there was also something more urban in a sheer shirt over an athletic white tank over the pleated flare of a short white skirt, and even some subtle drama in the way a black cape swirled around white shorts.
You can guarantee that Lemaire's will be the only show notes that wrap Meryl Streep and the Vietcong in the same blanket this season—or any other, for that matter. But Streep's patrician WASP-iness and the Vietcong's practical pajamas happily coexisted on Lemaire's catwalk. The fantasy of his presentation combined the elegance of a Southeast Asian colonial idyll (a floaty, feather-printed tea dress) with the same kind of pragmatic French sophistication (trench insouciantly thrown over shoulders) that illuminated his last collection for Hermès. There was still the signature dash of the East in the kurta-over-pants look that is a Lemaire favorite. And one thing that was clearer than ever is how artfully Lemaire repurposes the same tightly edited handful of ingredients; the way, for instance, that the check of a coat lining reappeared as a scarf worn casually as a halter-style top.
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