Everything you need to know about the upcoming UNIQLO and LEMAIRE collaboration line short of trying on the clothes themselves hit the web yesterday as the Japanese mega chain activated the collection's dedicated web page including price lists and a complete lookbook for everyone to preview. We'll get to the clothes in a minute, but the big news for New Yorkers is that the complete collection for men and women will launch on October 2nd in only two U.S. stores as well as online. Lucky for us, those stores are the two flagships on Fifth Avenue and on 34th Street. Selected items from the collaboration will be distributed to all Uniqlo locations, but from what we can gather they will only comprise about a quarter to a third of the entire offering. One more store, the Chicago unit set to open later in October, will also have the complete collection, but that's it, at least for this round of the project. Sorry, West Coasters.
This all means that the launch in October may recall the +J launches of years past, before we had multiple Uniqlo branches and e-commerce, and eager shoppers would line up outside the single SoHo flagship store to get the best pieces before they sold out —and you can expect some things to sell out quickly from this upcoming collaboration too.
Lemaire is not quite as well known as Jil Sander was when she unexpectedly joined forces with the mass retailer to create the +J line, but now that the collection has been revealed in its entirety —at least in photos— we can see that it was created for the same customer looking for something soigné and sophisticated at mass chain prices. If Lemaire and Uniqlo looks as good in person as it does in the lookbook photos, then they should have another hit on their hands. The prices range from $24.90 for casual knit pieces to $199.90 for a wool and cashmere men's coat. Most items are priced well under $100, with outerwear and cashmere knits comprising the most expensive pieces. The line, like the main Lemaire label, is less about trendy flash than luxury basics with an abundance of merino wool knits to be layered for practicality. Longer, flared skirts, draped tunic sweaters and special pieces like the asymmetrical cape (pictured above, right) show that the chain is not afraid of making a pitch to its more mature female customers, a strategy that files in the face of most millennial-obsessed fast fashion chains. For men (pictured below), there are what appear to be looser fitting shirts and easy, soft trousers that are right in step with the looser, more forgiving silhouettes that have surfaced in the most recent men's designer collections. With the launch just over five weeks away, eager New York shoppers would do well to go online, pick their favorite items and plan to be at either the Fifth Avenue or 34th Stores as early as possible.
UNIQLO and LEMAIRE (at Uniqlo.com)