There was a melancholy air to this show, which started with lots of dial tones and a soundtrack of British call center employees — automated and otherwise — offering their services, only to meet a lonely silence at the end of the line. What could be more dreary than listening to poor, minimum-wage Maureen trying to talk to the unemployed about their jobseekers’ allowance — only to be left hanging on the line?
There was nothing downbeat about the collection, though, which was filled with riffs on workwear (no job seekers here) in the form of curving cargo pants that narrowed at the ankle, cameraman vests layered over sweatshirts, blouson jackets with wide sleeves and lean, elegant coats and trenches.
Lemaire, who designs the collection with Sarah-Linh Tran, said after the show that he set out to create “refined workwear,” with a dash of Japanese Eighties shapes. He added more color to the collection, too, mostly earth tones such as mustard, clay, teal, olive and dark berry, while sturdy and hardworking fabrics included heavy cotton twill, wool gabardine, water-repellent cotton and nylon.
There was some great knitwear, too. Some was textured, as in a pixel-like pattern for a crewneck sweater, and some came in solid black or navy. Almost all the turtlenecks and pullovers were tucked neatly into the waistbands of trousers, which were cropped or narrow around the ankle. Midway through the show, the soundtrack evolved into actual music — including some upbeat Brian Eno tunes — cutting off the drudge Maureen.