With the deluge of shitty weather that has been battering Australia’s eastern seaboard, one could be forgiven for thinking that we’re still very much in a period of post-winter transition. All the more reason to hop over to one of Uniqlo’s global e-stores and take stock of the new Uniqlo U Autumn/Winter 2022 collection – designed, as always, under the guiding intelligence of French fashion designer Christopher Lemaire.
Having acquired legendary status for his work in the mid-2010s as artistic director at Hermès, Lemaire has been part of Uniqlo’s wider brain trust of heavyweight designers since 2015 – when he and life/work partner Sarah-Linh Tran unveiled their first Uniqlo U collaboration.
For Autumn/Winter 2022, the pieces are in line with what keen fashion observers would expect from the minds behind Lemaire’s namesake label: effortless, thoughtfully considered garments made here with materials and constructions that are easy to wear, never mind affordable.
Guided by Uniqlo’s philosophy of indispensable daily clothing (marketed by the brand as ‘LifeWear’) Lemaire and his cohorts have put together one of the most concise Uniqlo U collections to date – the result, at least in part, of a decision to make a substantial chunk of the product line-up unisex.
Taking the idea of your significant other nabbing your favourite sweatshirt to new heights, Lemaire remarked that Uniqlo U Autumn/Winter 2022 “[felt] like a natural evolution of how we and the people around us dress”. “We think a lot about the concept of a refined wardrobe,” Lemaire says. “Each piece should have a very precise function, being of use on its own but also working together by layering to create new functions.”
That quality of versatility and interdependence is most apparent in the collection’s cut-and-sewn layers: tees and overshirts in lovely, liberatingly large silhouettes hint at Lemaire’s own flagship (without going overboard on the conspicuous asymmetry for which the latter brand is known).
In a colour palette that Lemaire and his team have dubbed “rich and refined neutrals”, practically every article that makes up the winter collection can find a place in the modern urbanite’s wardrobe. The definitive example of that? According to Lemaire, the pocketable long coat: an outerwear layer fashioned out of water-repelling polyamide, in Uniqlo’s signature self-storage construction. “It can be worn in so many ways,” says Lemaire. “By everybody, no matter their age or gender.”