Seasonless, Genderless, Effortless. Lemaire is trying to push various boundaries further and tell a story through the collection. It’s not dramatic with flashy pieces, but an aesthetic and refined story that resonates in silence. They also project the subtleties of the ever-changing minds of people onto clothing.
“Our shapes and colors evolve with your life gently, like a gradation.” “We write the same story, but cast it in a different light. ” Christophe Lemaire and Sarah Linh Trang, co-designer of Lemaire, said in an interview. In Paris, Fall-Winter 2022/23 collection was unveiled at the runway show. Against a backdrop of the magnificent natural scenery of the sky and solid earth, the models instinctively moved forward on a pathless road reminded us of nomads, and seemed to reflect our minds freed from restrictions through the pandemic.
In the background of the collection, they revealed that they were inspired by the film “Princess Mononoke” animated by Studio Ghibli. We asked two of them, who make clothes assimilated into people’s lives with their delicate sensibility, about Fall-Winter 2022/23 collection and the resonance between Lemaire and Japanese aesthetics.
Season by season, collections tell us a story from different perspectives
−−How would you describe FW22 collection?
Sarah Linh Trang：It’s all about movement, walking, and racing forward now and again. The movement of the body in time and space sweeps along the fabric, the garment. This time, there is more substantial nomadic influence with enveloping shapes, felted wools, draped asymmetrical dresses, coats, and generous unisex pieces. More nonchalance, maybe?
Christophe Lemaire：You get dressed up, you go somewhere, to someone, you have a destination in your mind… The different states of clothes express the different states of movement.
−−How come you focus on “lively movement” this season?
Sarah Linh：This collection is inspired by the energy of a vivid walk in the forest: audacious, perceptive, and tender. I thought a lot about “Princess Mononoke” actually, who is idealist, aggressive sometimes, and touching also, hair in the wind, with locks hanging over the ears, an amulet in the form of a lacquer mirror, the body facing forward, turned toward the future, the joy on the horizon.
Christophe： We try to find original twists, to focus on the details, to make clothing that is more befitting, long-lasting and reassuring, which ages with informal elegance, like a companion towards the future.
−−On the runway, you showed us the spirit of nomads. What kind of feeling do you want the wearer to have? Is free mind and comfort one of the elements this season?
Sarah Linh：It is true. The French theater director and scenographer Philippe Quesne have been working with us to stage an urban horde of modern-day hunter-gatherers with rustic sophistication, who leave the irregular trail of a tribe in their collective wake which everyone advances at their own pace, but is united in heart. Togetherness is important.
−−You’ve always advocated “seasonless” and the idea of expanding our wardrobes each season while fascinating us with layers. Where is the starting point for embarking on the creation of a new collection?
Sarah Linh：Every season is thought of as a continuum of the previous one: we have certain shapes that you can find every season in different fabrics and colors, with slight modifications. This consistency is meaningful for us. Our shapes and colors evolve with your life gently, like a gradation. They complete each other months after months, years after years—enriching memories with layers of tinted souvenirs.
Christophe：We write the same story, but cast it in a different light.
−−Since last year you have eliminated the pre-collection and only expanded the main collection. What are the results so far?
Sarah Linh：The brand has freed itself from the rhythm imposed by the seasons. The pared-down, concise, and functional collections are complemented by a growing offer of unisex models and fluid items, designed hand in hand for women and men, fostering the mutual appropriation of wardrobes. It is an excellent shift for us; it simplifies the whole chain from design to production.
Common sensibility with Japanese culture and aesthetics
−−As inspired by “Princess Mononoke” this season, I can find something in common with Japanese aesthetics in the “Lemaire” collections. I also remember that the capsule collection released last year had the “Suminagashi” pattern. How did you learn about this Japanese marbling technique?
Sarah Linh：For the past seven years, Atelier La Folie has been making marbling-inspired prints for “Lemaire.” We have reimagined classical decorative marbling, simplifying traditional patterns into more refined, contemporary motifs. Frédérique from Atelier la Folie, showed us Suminagashi who also restores old books and documents for the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
−−Do you get inspiration from the culture and spirituality of Japan, not only technics?
Sarah Linh&Christophe：We are very interested in the Japanese culture and are always astonished by how communication between people and objects spreads throughout very subtle signs: colors, lines, silence, space, etc. We always remember to think about what Charlotte Perriand said when she discovered not only the art of living in Japan but also the art of inhabiting. ‘In Japan, which was 100% traditional at the time, I discovered emptiness, the power of emptiness, the religion of emptiness, fundamentally, which is not nothingness. For them, it represents the possibility of moving. Emptiness contains everything.’
−−It the end, please tell us your future prospects.
Christophe：Once a piece of clothing has been made—our work is complete at a certain point—the way it’s worn is the finishing touch that creates the style and elegance. Our job is to offer clothes to make that possible and set the stage. It’s also a way of making clothes that are becoming something that’s humbly flattering and “looks good on you,” which fits you and suits you, without being haughty or performative. “Becoming” is a word that sounds a bit dated, but it expresses exactly what we try to create.