Top designer Christophe Lemaire quits Hermes to develop his own brand

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French designer Christophe Lemaire appears at the end of his Spring/Summer 2013 women's ready-to-wear fashion show for fashion house Hermes during Paris fashion weekBy Astrid Wendlandt PARIS (Reuters) – Top designer Christophe Lemaire is leaving Hermes in the fall to focus on developing his eponymous fashion label, the French luxury group said on Monday. Lemaire took over from Jean-Paul Gaultier as the brand’s artistic director of womenswear in 2010, and his collections were increasingly gaining praise from fashion critics and enjoying growing demand from buyers. It was not yet clear on Monday who would replace Lemaire but some analysts said it was not a concern. “Hermes has got strong heritage and an image of timeless elegance that is quite independent from the designer,” said Bernstein luxury goods analyst Mario Ortelli.