PARIS — Lemaire has teamed up with Chinese artist Lin Yan for an installation at Beijing’s Dover Street Market outpost.
The “Lin Yan — Lemaire: Beijing Gateway” installation, unveiled July 2, will be in place until Aug. 12 in the store’s elephant space — which features a giant papier mâché sculpture of a pachyderm.
“We love this type of project because it’s the opportunity to ask people to offer their vision of the brand,” said Lemaire codesigner Sarah-Linh Tran in an interview with WWD at the label’s Paris headquarters.
The artist is renowned for creating sculptures and imprints of architectural features from layers of rice paper. “She built a sort of lightweight house around the elephant that respects the colors and textures of the elephant to highlight a selection of silhouettes that are suspended,” Tran explained. She and partner Christophe Lemaire saw parallels between the way Yan shapes paper and the way they think about clothing, as a lightweight home or shelter with multiple layers.
“Lin Yan’s work is very interesting, she has traveled a lot, she studied at the Beaux-Arts in Paris,” she said. “She has created a lot of imprints of doors and architectural elements in Beijing when the city was destroying lots of old buildings, so she froze the memory of certain elements.”
The installation features certain of these architectural elements — three doors and windows — in different shades of white and a smoky black that echo one of the key pieces in Lemaire’s fall collection, featuring a marbled print. The artworks are interspersed with five complete looks from Lemaire as well as accessories from the collection for the display.
“Creation is also a process of communication with material. When I hold the traditional Chinese handmade paper…, it is as comfortable and pleasant as wearing a garment that would perfectly express my personality,” Lin Yan said.
Lemaire and Tran regularly feature artists’ work in their designs — their spring 2022 collection includes a capsule featuring prints of landscapes by Joseph Yoakum, and others have incorporated the work of artists like Martin Ramírez and Carlos Peñafiel — and collaborate with creatives from different spheres for their retail installations.
Last year, they worked with Tokyo-based Kobayashi-san on an installation at Dover Street Market in Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood. Their Tokyo pop-up that opened last year is the fruit of a collaboration with the SKWAT collective, made up of architecture firm Daikei Mills and book store Twelvebooks, and features wooden displays created using the traditional Kigumi construction technique.
Originally planned for a single season, the Tokyo store — Lemaire’s only stand-alone outside Paris — will remain open until next spring at least. “It’s performed well, and it allows us to understand our Japanese clientele better,” Tran said.
As for China, it is also a growing market for Lemaire. The label has 25 doors there, including Dover Street Market and Lane Crawford.