Here is a thought-- "Keep it classic, keep it LACOSTE, keep it vibrant, keep it rack relevant but let's see where this can go!" could probably be the rally and creative stretches for the LACOSTE Fall/Winter 2010 collection. Because, what Christophe Lemaire sent down the runway is essentially a beautifully constructed, effortlessly wearable collection fusing the essence of LACOSTE (a legacy of enthusiasm, energy, sports and frill-free, clean-cut style) with runway-ready sophistication and imagination. Let's just say, how can we retain LACOSTE's heritage while taking your wardrobe staple peacoat and cotton pique polo somewhere new, somewhere yet to be ventured?
The label's luxurious Club line once again operates on the uncompromising note of harmonizing comfort with and elegant chic. For Lemaire, this season's directions pulls at two endsâ€”rethink the jackets for men and take a playful plunge at volume for women. Peacoats for men are long and sweeping with large lapels and generous slouchy raglan shoulders, adding a touch of Scandinavia:n languish, annotating the collection for men who take relaxing with a serious candor. In other outerwear, the same raglan sleeves find themselves onto cropped jackets that are re-imagined from classic workwear and peacoats. For the ladies, not just in the Club line but throughout the presentation, "longjohn" leggings with ribbed ankles brings a lounge comfort and balance to soft, large shoulders in a grayish cream peacoat with a dressy notched lapel in vintage volumes. A measured balance of color is essential in the Club line, as looks do explore a gradient of shades but in a tonal, calibrated manner. In another look, a meticulously hand-knitted alpaca car coat lends texture to the mix. A tapestry of grays, creams and white injects the looks with visual depth and complexity to a subtle compilation of staples, executing the French quiet elegance to a macabre precision.
Onto the other portion of the presentation where a rush of color infiltrated the collection as the show progresses, color blocking with bright, eye-catching shades such as the famed LACOSTE green, pink, blue, yellow...brings out the sportswear heritage of LACOSTE, once again validating Lemaire's attention to details and legacy. Black convertible funnel neck mini dress can be worn asymmetrically and highlights the color block theme when paired with yellow leggings and a purple obi sash belt adorned with pompom balls. For guys, rainbow color digital speckled scarf peeks out from underneath a classic black sports wear coat and allows the pink gloves and bright blue pants to shine through without being ostentatious. More deliberate Pantone puzzle play comes in colorblocked hooded jackets with airy sleeves, ribbed black dresses with contrasting ribbed cuffs and hem, and long tube dresses are pulled over the classic polo which has been remade in double-faced wool for the winter.
For the daring and fashion conscious unafraid of pushing the style envelop on a daily basis, pleated jersey wool jumpsuits are tucked in with contrasting obi sash and topped off with a sleeveless, calf-grazing coat of architectural proportions and strong shoulders a la Balmain. The look is slightly reminiscent of the modern traveler with strong ties to folk colors, but with an almost Matrix-like purpose.
Another strong suit for LACOSTE this season comes in accessories. As per mentioned, the pompom dressed obi sash belts are fresh choices for women, for whom belts have climbed the wardrobe hierarchy in the past few years and gained importance. Classic hats such as berets and bowler hats are re-cut in modern shapes as the beret hangs smaller for the ladies, and the bowler hat can be worn to the side where one end will drape over the face. As for sneakers, heritage shapes such as the desert boot and chukkah are remade in fresh colors and materials for both men and women. For women, the desert boot is given a high-fashion jolt with heels, and for men, the boots come in opulent urban shades such as purple, mustard yellow and burnished orange.
For those who have always enjoyed LACOSTE's presentation but puzzled over the Byzantine disconnect between show and rack, LACOSTE will be introducing the LACSTE Studio capsule collection where 15 looks from the show will be pulled into flagship boutiques and specialty stores around the world, so hiccups such as early sell-in periods and delivery schedules won't stand in the way of these pieces' commercial survival. Once again Lemaire awes with a beautiful, effortless synthesis of sportswear and luxury chic that will fit into any closet, and be sure to convert all to a new sartorial religion championing comfort with heritage and elegance.
Also, don't forget to check out our one-on-one interview with LACOSTE's Christophe Lemaire!