Like the soul-searching Peer Gynt, Sarah-Linh Tran and Christophe Lemaire compared their fall collection, with its wintry color palette and tone-on-tone layers, to an onion. It may be a humble vegetable, but it is also eminently versatile and full of flavor, so proved an apt metaphor.
Intending to cater to the current need for protection and comfort, they layered their characteristic relaxed tailoring with wafer-thin, second-skin jersey pieces and dry silk pajama-like designs. There were also tunics of varying lengths for both men and women, padded coats and dresses made from silk and cotton, and touches of Mongolian lambskin and shearling. Mottled prints featured marbled effects, resembled swirls of ink or formed subtle feather motifs, while a pair of looks in vivid red provided a touch of drama.
With men’s and women’s collections shown together for the second time — the design duo decided to switch their calendar and present only twice a year after COVID-19 struck — the designs echoed each other on a diverse cast of characters. They mingled, appearing to observe each other warily, in a carefully lit black space that highlighted the all-important cuts, textures and subtle plays on color well.
Nodding to changing lifestyles and the practicalities of urban life on foot or riding a bicycle through the city, Tran and Lemaire styled their women’s looks with low heels or boots gathered at the ankle to tuck in the pants — so rarely an exercise in style, but here it made perfect sense. Hooded silhouettes like an ivory silk dress also added a sporty inflection to the minimalistic lineup.
A plethora of pockets accentuated the movement of the fabrics and provided structure, on reporter jackets for instance, while cross-body bags in soft leather were designed to be worn in pairs, looking like protective mittens — or boxing gloves, depending on interpretation — in which to shelter the hands.