“It’s really about looking for something masculine, steady, solid, and sometimes a bit sensual.” Christophe Lemaire’s précis of this collection could apply to the entire Lemaire project. Today the pneumatic rubber squeak of his pared-down Chinese slipper-ish pumps against the marble floor of his palatial Paris venue nicely prefigured a group of garments that mixed codes both high and low into a dreamily seamless whole.
The silhouette of his all-tailoring looks in tight-woven wool echoed that of Spring ’16: unlined, soft-shouldered jackets over wide pants cut just millimeters above the heel of those pumps. A Shetland tweed topcoat combined oat-y rusticity with sharply drafted luxuriousness through restraint. Work shirts in a silk-cotton mix shone with a creamy lushness accentuated by the denim pieces they were often framed by; Lemaire’s soft flannel shirting was a more authentically horny-handed son of toil, but just barely. The ironed crease on his high-waisted ginger denim pants—jeans just don’t quite cut it—was an endearingly fastidious detail. A hoodless duffle jacket and a pared-down donkey jacket in exfoliatingly scrunchy navy wool, as well as a looks-like-shearling bouclette wool coat in a milky-coffee brown, were borne of a collaboration with Gloverall, the British outerwear company that popularized the duffle: All three combined beauty and butchness. High-hemmed white pants over shiny black boots felt like a semi-literal homage torue-lurking mecs past—basically, it’s a French thing—but pretty much everything else here was lovely, lovely, lovely.