In a time when high profile designers are tapped to resuscitate venerable houses (can you say Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton?) it came as quite a shock when Hermes announced they were replacing Jean Paul Gaulthier with a relatively unknown French designer, named Christophe Lemaire. Lemaire was not a total stranger to fashion insiders. His pedigree includes interning for Christian La Croix, Thierry Mugler and Yves Saint Laurent, and launching his signature line in 1990. In 2002 he was appointed creative director of Lacoste. Lemaire was successful in updating the vintage sportswear brand, reintroducing generations to the little green alligator.
However, it was a risky choice for Hermes, known throughout the world as the consummate luxury brand. A house with origins in hand-crafted equestrian goods, which eventually created the urban fashion legend that is the handbag wait list for their coveted Kelly and Birkin bags.
Lemaire made an impressive showing with his first collection for Hermes. However, it was his spring 2014 collection that made the fashion world sit up, and take notice. These were looks most women would want to wear. Lemaire’s designs are feminine, strong, and effortlessly glamorous. Clothing that is a meant to be lived in - and loved. Neutrals are a mainstay in his collections yet when he does color or print, he nails it every time. His girls are swathed in luxurious layers that beg to be touched, each look more desirable than the next. Lemaire has become one to watch, and it appears that the risk Hermes took is paying off.