Christophe Lemaire and Hermès have parted ways. The artistic director of the French house since 2010, his last collection of his ready-to-wear will be spring/summer 2015, presented in Paris this October. This announcement comes as a real surprise to the industry.
Lemaire is certainly not a box-office name, but his interpretation of Hermès over the past four years – quiet, sophisticated luxury – has been well-received by the press. Sales are also robust – growth for the fourth quarter of 2013, announced in February, was 11%.
According to the statement released today, the dissolution of the partnership is down to Lemaire's plans to concentrate on his eponymous designs. “My own label is growing in an important way,” says Lemaire, “and now I really want and need to dedicate myself to it fully.”
The speculation now will be around who joins the house. Hermès has a history of changing things up every few years. Before Lemaire, Jean-Paul Gaultier's cheeky take on French chic was in the frame for seven years – and he followed on from Martin Margiela's conceptualism. Going on that history, a more pop culture-driven Paris designer – Carven creative director Guillaume Henry or even Isabel Marant – has a good chance of landing the gig.
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