Creme De Lemaire

A French label is slowly rising to the top.

Christophe Lemaire

“I don’t believe in the modern legend of the multitasking designer,” says Christophe Lemaire, sitting in his loftlike Paris studio. “If you are interested in producing something essential, and of high quality, you need time.” Fortunately for Lemaire—and for his fans—the French designer can now fully devote himself to the discreetly elegant clothes for which he’s known. Last year, he stepped down as artistic director of women’s wear at ­Hermès, a position he had held since 2010, to focus on his 24-year-old brand, now known simply as Lemaire. Working with Sarah-Linh Tran, his partner in both business and life, Lemaire has launched e-commerce and introduced pre-collections. And this month the label will debut a collaboration with the megabrand Uniqlo full of chic basics like cashmere knits and casual wool pants for men and women, bringing ­Lemaire and Tran’s no-fuss, intelligent designs to a whole new audience. “Our philosophy,” Lemaire says, “is just to make good clothes that you want as much as you need.”