Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran have established Lemaire as a resource for a balanced wardrobe — luxurious but not opulent, essential but not basic, tasteful but not boring. To some extent all those quantifiers signal that the collection is safe, and yet for spring Lemaire and Tran seemed to push their boundaries, with mixed results.
The duo’s venue of choice, the Jeu de Paume, had the blank, bare effect of a room being primed for a paint job. That aesthetic was reflected in the clothes, many of them done in fabrics that brought to mind parchment and paper and cut into silhouettes that had an austerity without being minimal. The first exit was an extralong ivory shirt, gathered at the shoulders and buttoned all the way up like a painter’s smock — hardly a wardrobe staple. Shown over full, cropped pants, the outfit smothered the body. It was directional in modesty yet lacking in modern appeal.
The designers did better with lighter, more femme fare — the suggestive slash at the shoulder of a navy caped dress and the chicly sensual classic combination of an off-the-shoulder white shirt and high-waisted black pants. Script patterns on the borders of white tunics as well as the accessories — raw-edged neck scarves and strong shoes — added organic depth and a little levity to the lineup’s matte sobriety.