Christophe Lemaire recently succeeded Jean Paul Gaultier as creative director of Hermès, following a ten-year stint heading up Lacoste, during which time he has been credited for reviving the brand. In an interview with WWD, Lemaire reveals how he'll be taking a different approach from Gaultier's more dramatic flair.
While Gaultier's final show included a live dressage performance, Lemaire tells WWD: “I think I will be walking in the footsteps of Margiela more than Gaultier, even if I have a lot of respect for Jean Paul Gaultier and his virtuosity."
Lemaire points to an enduring, "simpler, pared-down wardrobe" at his hands, to be shown in more intimate settings than in the Gaultier years. Though there's more work to be done on his inaugural collection for Hermès, Lemaire cites Oriental and western influences. As Lemaire tells WWD: "What is clear is that Hermès is all about this idea of traveling — traveling in space and time. It immediately conjures a nomadic spirit.”
Unlike the infamously elusive Margiela, Lemaire is remarkably candid about his process, including the difficulty he had at Lacoste reconciling his vision vision with management's expectations:
It’s as if the moment had finally arrived for me to show what I’m capable of,” he said. “For various reasons, I have always lacked either the maturity or the means to develop my own brand, and at Lacoste, I was working under constraints that meant that, even though I think I did a good job, I was never able to unleash my full potential. So I hope to be able to do that at Hermès.
Lemaire's first collection is set to debut in Paris in March 2011.