Christophe Lemaire’s latest collection of womenswear for fashion giant Hermès is proving to be yet another of many critically acclaimed by the French designer. Lemaire has previously admitted that he finds inspiration from other cultures, but chooses to portray his pieces in a suitably contemporary light. His Fall/Winter 2014-15 apparel could be suited to an open-minded, adventurous, sophisticated type of woman. Confidence would be required to pull off a look that is evidently as much inspired by masculine tailoring and exotic silhouettes, as it is embracing of the subtly feminine hints that resonate throughout the collection. It is no wonder, then, that the visionary’s reign as head designer produced, according to brand CEO Axel Dumas, “very satisfactory financial results.”
Hermès’s upcoming Spring/Summer 2015 collection will be the last to be headed by Lemaire, who is leaving the company after only four years in the lead. The designer has touched on the reason for leaving in an appropriately discreet manner, hinting that the leave would be necessary in order to allow him to focus on his own fashion label – which, although respected, has settled comfortably into the back seat of Lemaire’s impressive professional life. Indeed, before his stint at Hermès, Lemaire spent time rejuvenating Lacoste, in order to suit the tastes of a trendier, younger demographic without losing its loyal clientele. Before that was Christian Lacroix, Jean Patou and St. Laurent. Lemaire succeeded Jean Paul Gaultier at Hermès in 2010, which was considered a surprise to the industry, as he was not as highly sought-after as his predecessors. During his time at the fashion label, Lemaire noted that the brand was one that “is open to the world, lively, always evolving…” and “…curious of other cultures…” yet the designer’s creative choices were also favoured for his respect of Hermès’ “rich heritage.”
So who will take on the new role? There is no doubt the industry is a-buzz with speculation and with Hermès being such a highly revered brand, it’s not hard to see why. It is likely that names such as Wu (despite his ridiculously busy schedule), Miyaki and Kane will be uttered, for they are among the favourites of the fashion industry for their modern takes on what should look aesthetically pleasing on the body. There is, however, one designer whom it would be a shame to overlook: Columbia-born creative mind Haider Ackermann. One could note a similar colour palette to that of Lemaire’s in his own recent release for Fall. Moreover, the juxtaposition between the over-sized, yet meticulously structured silhouette and a more demurely fitted look can be spotted from both designers as something of a signature. Therefore, since Lemaire’s taste was so popular with not only the luxury fashion house, but also it’s esteemed demographic alike, surely it would be unwise for them to stray too far from a certified success during this delicate transitional period. Yet Ackermann has in his contemporarily sophisticated cuts and palette something of the unknown, an air of unpredictability – a mere hint – which would no doubt stand him in good stead, were he to take the reigns.