Christophe Lemaire left Hermès in the summer to focus on his eponymous line, but it looks like he's not too busy for a collaboration with a giant global retailer. On Tuesday, Uniqlo announced that it is partnering with Lemaire, who will design a men's and women's capsule collection for the Japanese brand debuting next fall.
The French designer follows in the footsteps of Pharrell Williams and Ines de la Fressange, demonstrating that when it comes to to collabs, Uniqlo isn't afraid to take risks with lesser known names in fashion.
The capsule will be a departure for Lemaire in terms of price accessibility, but it's another chapter in the designer's fruitful relationship with Japanese retailers. He told the Business of Fashion that when he launched his own line in 1990, it had such a successful reception in Japan that the market kept the company going before Lemaire had the experience and team to run it.
Uniqlo, owned by Fast Retailing, is a vertically integrated retailer known for colorful basics and technologically advanced fabrics. It has 852 stores in Japan and 633 stores internationally in countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, including 39 stores in the U.S. and 10 stores in the UK.
Lemaire, who led Lacoste for nine years before going to Hermès in 2010, now designs his namesake line at a luxury price point with partner Sarah-Linh Tran and with the help of Managing Director Bastien Daguzan. Daguzan told BoF that the company is seeking investors and talks have already begun. Regardless of how those talks pan out, it looks like 2015 will be a year of growth for Lemaire.