Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
If you are looking for a timeless wardrobe, something cutting edge but understated, than this one is for you. Chirstophe Lemaire’s boutique in the Upper Marais has it all: very wearable fashion for men and women, lovely pieces at quite affordable prices.
His vision of fashion is different. You can feel it from the very first moment. Christophe Lemaire, 46, is a designer who doesn’t like the speed of the fashion carousel. It’s somebody grounded and spiritual at the same time. His fashion is clearly inspired by the Japanese culture. Don’t expect to find sexy gowns or stuff like that. His style is more monastic, nomadic, let’s call it zen.
You’ll find, instead, unique, convertible pieces with character. Most of the time is loose, draped, and what he calls “realistic”. He wants things to be completely wearable and, as he puts it, “quiet and singular”. And he’s right: it’s minimalistic with a sophisticated twist. And a lot of pieces are unisex. You can swipe your boyfriend’s jacket – and he could wear your coat, why not? For both, men and women, the garments are classical but cutting-edge at the same time.
And since Mr. Lemaire is head of the women’s fashion at Hermes, you can shop in his boutique with a good conscience: it’s Hermès for a third of the price, at least. I really love his way of seeing things, his concept of beauty and femininity.
Strangely, Mr. Lemaire has flown a bit under the radar of the fashion world until his appointment at the top of Hermès last year. Worse, the decision raised a lot of eyebrows and Pierre-Alexis Dumas, general artistic director of the house, had to defend himself: “Maybe in five years I will look back and think it was a terrible mistake – or a wonderful surprise”, said Dumas to the New York Times.
If you ask me, this is only because Mr. Lemaire is a bit media-shy. After all he was at the head of Lacoste for a decade and he had created his own label 20 years ago. He’s shown his talent for a long time. Only a few wanted to see.Christophe Lemaire 28, rue de Poitou 75003 PARIS www.christophelemaire.com