Imagine a knitted designer dress so clever it has absolutely no seams but fashion-cool enough to qualify as both street and evening wear – all at a high street price.
That’s precisely what you’ll find in the hotly anticipated new Uniqlo U Autumn/Winter 2017 range, overseen by feted Lacoste (2000-2010) and Hermes (2011-2015) artistic director Christophe Lemaire, which dropped in Australia today.
This is the third capsule U collection for Uniqlo released with Lemaire at the helm of the Japanese megabrand’s Paris R&D Center design team. The French designer, who’s known for his mastery of perfect basic wardrobe pieces, was appointed artistic director in 2016 following a hugely successful capsule collaboration the year before. If Jonathan Anderson’s recent capsule for Uniqlo was a colour-filled carnival, then consider this range from Lemaire as a minimalist style-lover’s dream soiree.
Credit: Tane Coffin
Think knit dresses that are the perfect all-year wardrobe staple, track tops with weatherproofing on steroids and a twenty-dollar unisex monochrome belt bag (labelled the shoulder bag) so cool GRAZIA’s stylist Daisy Uffindel decided to layer it on twice in this exclusive preview shoot. The knits in this collection clearly bear the same design DNA as his namesake Lemaire collection, minus a zero on the end of the price.
“I’m interested in something that fits your everyday life—timeless, essential,” Lemaire has said in the past of his aesthetic. “People have been realising that [fast fashion] cannot go on anymore like it used to go. Over-consumerism and overproduction are a disaster,” he’s said in another interview. “You just need a good pair of pants. If you find a good pair, you don’t have to change every six months.”
Certainly, on an aesthetic level the 46 women’s and 27 men’s Uniqlo U AW17 pieces all tick the ‘quality everyday essentials’ mandate of its LifeWear mood clothes – and all at a high street price range that’s hard to resist. (For the record, there are seven mostly gender neutral accessories on the table this season too.)
Given the impressively serious-sounding research and development centre Lemaire overseas creatively, it comes as little surprise his clothes for Uniqlo are as ground-breaking technology-wise as they are fashion forward. Construction and fabric are where things get really impressive with these pieces, even for the most tech-shy (aesthetically shallow, eh hem, yes that’s us) fashion lover.
Credit: Tane Coffin
The Merino Ribbed Mock Neck dress for example, uses a patented new 3D knitting technique that means there are absolutely no seams, as do several other pieces in the collection. It comes in eternally wearable neutral hues of cream, black and steel grey, as well as the fun bright red worn by our model here in sizes ranging from XS to XL and costs just a touch under $100. (We’d suggest snapping up several colours if you can.)
Credit: Tane Coffin
The men’s and women’s seamless track jackets are made from double-weave polyester, meaning they need fewer stitches are supercharged in the wind-proof department. For ladies, the sleeves of their version – which comes in navy, green, red and black for $130 – even zip out so it doubles as a vest.
Prices for the entire collection that includes cotton and towelling hoodies, classic T-shirts, pleated skirts, collarless button-up shirts, sleeveless satin column dresses, puff sleeve cropped knits and even heeled boots and sneakers, start from $20 for a sparkling thread knit beanie to $200 for the extra-warm double down and wrap coats.
When Lemaire dropped his first collection for Uniqlo several years ago, it sold out in a seeming heartbeat, prompting Uniqlo bosses to offer him a prime full-time gig. We’re taking bets here at GRAZIA on how long it takes for this one to do the same. Run, don’t walk.
The Uniqlo Autumn/Winter 2017 collection is available from Thursday 12 October 2017 at Uniqlo Emporium, Uniqlo Chadstone, Uniqlo MidCity and via the online store. To view the collection now, visit here.