Born in Besançon, a small city in eastern France near the Swiss border, Christophe Lemaire had what he considered a fairly boring, bourgeois upbringing. After graduating from school and needing a job to pay rent, he happened upon a position as an assistant stylist for French label Thierry Mugler. Although the first step in his career would lead him towards the highest echelons of fashion world—even still, in his first job—he wasn't all that interested in the industry to begin with. I only started to realize I was interested in fashion when I started working as a fashion assistant, Lemaire told SOMA magazine in 2010. I was always interested in style, but not necessarily fashion. I had more of an interest in interior design, objects and fashion as everyday life. Considering Lemaire’s pared-down aesthetic, that statement seems to still ring true.

Despite his initial indifference, Lemaire continued to learn the ropes of the industry with an internship at Mugler and, later at Yves Saint Laurent in the early ‘80s. He then moved to Christian Lacroix, beginning as an assistant, but moving up the ranks to become the manager of the brand's ready-to-wear. Thinking about the natural ease that would come to define Lemaire’s designs, it makes sense that he’s nostalgic about this different, less manic, period in fashion.

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