The Bibliothèque nationale de France, with its beige carpeting and gray Parisian morning backlight, made a venue most befitting Christophe Lemaire’s spring show. “Shhhhhh,” the walls seemed to say, “Women studying chicly in here.”
Lemaire is indeed studied in his approach to impeccable understatement. It’s high style that will never make a scene. For spring, it came in cottons — poplin, chambray, linen and twill — light but with enough structure to give crisp definition to generous silhouettes and layers. What wasn’t a classic shirt, trench or workwear piece was descended from it: a white blouse recut as an asymmetrical cape, a blue sleeveless wrap tunic with a trench belt around the top, a black apron dress with a slanted hem. Everything could be filed neatly under “quiet luxury” that bordered on too tranquil. The lone red look in the otherwise flat palette was a wake-up call.