Morning broke bright and sunny in Paris and it was that sunshine streaming through the very large plate glass windows of the Biblioteque Nationale de France that provided ample light for Christophe Lemaire’s elegant and practical spring/summer 2015 collection. If one is looking for a lot of color, this isn’t the collection for you, though there is one brilliantly bright red ensemble in the mix. This is a wardrobe building ready-to-wear collection that reflects the changing needs of a spring/summer wardrobe in a refined yet practical manner.

Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Lin Tanh are apparently expecting a slightly cooler spring/summer next year, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are a lot of coats and jackets in this collection; so much so that were the fabrics heavier one might mistake this for an autumn/winter set. We’re seeing more designers put heavier jackets in their spring lines, though, because the choice of having that extra layer has become a necessity for many climates. Just because the calendar says it’s March or April doesn’t mean we can don short sleeves and shorts. Lemaire’s coats are voluminous and look best when left open so they can flow as part of the look beneath them.

Monochrome is a big part of the look for this collection and even though many of the pieces are separates and can easily be mixed and mingled, it is in that monochrome styling that everything seems to fit together the best. For my money, the white on white on white looks are the most striking as the different layers fall asymmetrically yet manage to move together as though they were a single piece. While there is one print in the collection, most fall well within the natural earth tones with a rather heavy interest in blues.

Silhouettes run on the full side, which we expect from this label. Watch for some incredibly tight pleats in several of the skirts; those are going to require special care to keep them looking their best but the aesthetic is quite lovely. Hemlines are long, waistlines sit on the hip, and neck lines are generally high with a couple of minor exceptions. We see a lot of chambray and well-tooled denim midst poplin and linen. The designers prefer a three-inch, block heeled, closed toe shoe with ankle strap for most the looks, but there aren’t a lot of other accessories on display.

Christophe Lemaire is just contemporary enough to be stylish while maintaining a sense of elegance and professionalism. These clothes are perfect for the businesswoman or any woman who means business. Practical, to be sure, but not to the point anything looks old or stodgy. This is a safe collection which makes it perfect for the Midwest. No risks, no daring, but a clean, well-styled wardrobe.

Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier

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