Style Counsel: An Under-the-Radar Parisian Designer
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Before introducing his eponymous label in 1991, the French designer spent his formative years working alongside Yves Saint Laurent and Thierry Mugler and as an assistant to Christian Lacroix. He accepted the role of artistic director at Lacoste in 2000, and in 2010 he became the artistic director at Hermès, where he continues to design the women's collection. Despite holding key positions at major fashion houses, Christophe maintains his anti-fashion approach, offering timeless design, season-less garments, all with a focus on superior simplicity. Christophe's collections reflect a penchant for precision detail, seen in the tailoring of even the most basic white shirt. Sarah-Linh Tran, Christophe's partner in life and work, is an integral part of the design process. As she explains it, "we design for a woman who has found her style and lives it with grace. Her clothing is a way to simplify her life and highlight her personality." Here's a look at the Christophe Lemaire spring collection as well as a Q&A with Christophe and Sarah-Linh about their personal uniforms, maintenance tips, and style essentials. Above: The Christophe Lemaire 2014 women's spring collection was presented at a French Protestant temple converted into a home. "We wanted somewhere very intimate to show a woman in the poetry of everyday life, and we fell in love with this place which is both strange and beautiful. The light, the vibe; we also like sets that are not easily defined, such as this," says Christophe. Above: Sarah-Linh Tran and Christophe Lemaire at home in Paris. Photographed for Remodelista. RM: How would you describe your personal style? Christophe Lemaire: I like the concept of a personal uniform, it is what I am looking for myself. I don't like clothes that are too fragile or precious. I like functional and durable garments. Sarah-Linh Tran: Practical and discreet. RM: What are your wardrobe essentials? Christophe: My uniform is made-to-measure leather boots, tapered chinos, a fishermen's rib yak sweater (both from Christophe Lemaire), and a vintage wool and alpaca single-breasted three-quarter coat. Sarah-Linh: I always wear second-skins sweaters in silk and cashmere under my shirts or pullovers. RM: What season is your favorite? Christophe: Spring in the morning. Sarah-Linh: Fall in Paris. RM: Wardrobe maintenance tips? Christophe: Leather shoe shine is necessary; like John Lobb's Shoe Cream . Sarah-Linh: I don't have any legitimate advice, I'm afraid. RM: What are the key essentials that you always carry with you? Christophe: My iPhone and Ricola sweets. Sarah-Linh: A notebook and a hand sanitizer. Above: Photograph of Aesop's Shine oil on Danish site Nouvelle . RM: Groom or un-groomed? What are your favorite products? Christophe: Groomed (I like to be manicured). Aesop’s Primrose Facial Hydrating Cream and Fabulous Face Cleanser . Sarah-Linh: And I just discovered Aesop's Brille for hair. It nourishes very dry hair without weighing it down. RM: Do you have a scent that you are loyal to? Christophe: Natural amber. Sarah-Linh: Agrumes [citrus], basil, olive oil, and the scent of very basic moisturizers like Nivea. RM: Are there any styling principles you rely on when preparing the show of each collection? Christophe: Never trying hard, and never too obvious. Sarah-Linh: I picture a better version of myself. RM: What is the best complement to a minimalist wardrobe? Sarah-Linh and Christophe: A beautiful skin and healthy hair! RM: What is the last thing you purchased for your home? Christophe: A Korg keyboard. Sarah-Linh: A pasta machine to make homemade pastas. [The Marcato Atlas Pasta Machine , $69.95 at Crate and Barrel.] RM: What is next on your wish list? Christophe: To rearrange the furniture at home. Sarah-Linh: To be with my family in New York. Above: Adolf Loos' Villa Müller in Prague, Czech Republic designed in 1930. RM: Favorite art piece or architectural work of the moment? Christophe: The work of architect Adolf Loos and painter Odilon Redon . Sarah-Linh: Giacometti's Disagreeable Object to be Thrown away . For similar snippets of advice, see our previous posts, Expert Advice: 10 Wardrobe Maintenance Essentials and Style Counsel: Apiece Apart on Living with Less .