Reason To Shop: Uniqlo X Lemaire, Season Two

Uniqlo X Lemaire 2016 Pic 1

One of our favourite collaborations at Uniqlo will be no more after its launch tomorrow. Lemaire has teamed up with the Jap label for one final time. This, we say with considerable regret. Fashion collaborations are plenty these days, but good ones are not as abundant. Those that truly induce a desire to buy, not because they’re helmed by a hot name, but because they’re a pleasure to hold and behold, are few and far between. Uniqlo’s pairing with Lemaire, though only two-season long, will be remembered as one of the chicest high-low collaborations of all time. Occasionally, a short marriage does leave a legacy.

As with the previous season, sophisticated simplicity characterise the collection. Consistent with Uniqlo’s own Lifewear branding, these are clothes that both supplement and enhance a wardrobe. You buy them because you know you’ll wear them. Each piece will not confound you. They won’t challenge you either, but that does not mean they are devoid of the details that will complete a look, your look. These clothes play cameos that lead.

Uniqlo X Lemaire 2016 Pic 2
There’s something so sensationally unspectacular about all the pieces that you know they’ll stand out in the surfeit of the loud and flashy. Some fashion folks think they are as extreme in their rigorous simplicity as Versace is in their overt sexiness. The monk and the hooker scenario. Yes, both are on the opposite poles of planet fashion and both are equally relevant in a world that consumes pluralistically, enthusiastically.

A lot of this final lot will be enticing. We love the collarless shirt dresses, with their moderate volume and modest length, discreetly belted. We’re drawn to the palazzo pants, with generous side pleats in the front. We love the knitwear, loosely-weaved, sportif yet feminine. For the men, we are sold on the utility blouson, with deep pockets placed quirkily low on the chest. We won’t hesitate to pick the chambray blazer, kitted with functional pockets inside. And we’ll just as quickly take the carrot-shaped pants with the double pleats in font. What’s also note-worthy is that, for the first time in a Uniqlo collab, there is footwear: a pair of cotton canvas slip-ons for both men and women.

Uniqlo X Lemaire 6 Must-HavesFrom left: cotton twill shirt, S$49.90; chambray shirt-blouson, S$129; cotton twill elasticated pants, S$59.90; belted striped dress, S$79.90; cotton mesh polo, S$49.90; and Oxford gaucho pants, S$59.90

The Day I Shopped Uniqlo X Lemaire And Was Over The Moon

By Raiment Young

I didn’t think the turnout would be great. I mean, I had expected it to be good, but not great. Or, I was hoping it would not be greatly attended. There’s a selfish gene in me, and it wanted all the good stuff before anyone else got to them. But things don’t always turn out the way it wants.

It was 2 October last year, the first day of the launch of Uniqlo X Lemaire and it was unseasonably, unbearably warm. By the time I arrived at the Ion Orchard store, after a meeting that stretch longer than spandex tights, a crowd had formed in the corner allotted to the collection. From afar, I could tell that most of the stuff was gone. And this was barely an hour after the store opened. The mind boggled since I had thought that most people were saving their time and money for the upcoming launch of H&M X Balmain.  Clearly, I was mistaken.

True to my fear, I managed to only pick a shirt, and this one was tossed aside by someone who, after a long deliberation, decided to forego it. I was told that more would be released later than evening, at seven. I would have to come back. And I did.

This time, I was an hour earlier. A crowd had formed. Security men did their work like hawks. No one seemed to notice that we were all watched like illegal immigrants. The clothes finally came out… slowly, really slowly. And they were gone in a moment, like scraps during feeding time in a zoo.

Despite the frenzy and the unappreciated sight of people happy to use the aisle as fitting room, I ended the evening with more than I should acquire. These were buys I conducted with complete confidence since I knew they won’t be pieces languishing in the darker recess of my cupboard. I was terribly pleased. I have been wearing every item regularly, and I know I will continue to wear them, even when I am thinking of those I will be buying tomorrow.

Uniqlo X Lemaire 2016 Pic 3

Due to last season’s success, Uniqlo will, this time, launch the collaboration at four outlets. The anticipated overwhelming response is not unreasonable. Unlike the previous collection (autumn/winter), the current comprises many pieces that we can wear in our unforgiving weather. Even the blazers are in fabrics of a weight completely doable (and bearable) over a shirt. Fabrics are key: those supple cotton twill, the caressable extra-fine cottons, and the fine-gauge Oxfords. Perhaps, more importantly for some of us, this is the last chance to grab clothes so beautifully designed and made and sharply priced that once missed, we’re going to hate ourselves for missing out.

Uniqlo X Lemaire will be launched on 4 March at Uniqlo Bugis+, Ion Orchard, Jem, and Suntec City Mall. Photos: Uniqlo

Update (4 Mar, 11am): It was drawn to our attention by the sales staff at Suntec City Mall outlet that the full collection is only available at Ion Orchard