“I have always been interested in the intimate relationship we can have with clothes. Every morning everybody has to dress, move, and go to work; and dressing up is of course a projection of ourselves, of our personality, but there’s also a sensual relationship to the clothes. We have to feel comfortable in every sense of the word—comfortable and functional. We have to be able to move in it.”
Simplicity is not often accompanied by mystery, which tends to keep company with the complicated. Yet in the hands of French designer Christophe Lemaire, minimal pieces become infinitely intriguing.
The Christophe Lemaire brand, founded in 1992, is quiet and singular. These aren’t the kind of pieces that scream at you from the rack. They’re flexible. Lemaire has always been more interested in style than fashion. Growing up in France in the late 1960s and 1970s (when his uncle, Robert Caillé, was publisher of French Vogue), he was “very precise” about his own choice of clothes but also fascinated by interior design and industrial design.
Lemaire’s influences—the Far East, military and martial arts uniforms, workwear, monastic robes—are distilled and deployed with subtlety. The typically neutral palette is a foil for sensuous, natural materials that range from sturdy cotton gabardine to lightweight khullu wool, the soft insulating layer of down that protects Tibetan yaks from intense cold.