After seven years, Jean Paul Gaultier is giving up the reins at Hermès, leaving us with an extraordinary archive, full of every cheeky permutation of riding gear imaginable: jockey hats with horse bits, crotch-less jodhpurs, croc horse crops. Apparently, even his pervy imagination needs a rest. Perhaps more surprising is the replacement jumping into the saddle, none other than Christophe Lemaire, Lacoste’s designer since 2000. It seems like quite a leap to go from tennis whites to the luxury racetrack, but then again, he’s also worked under some thoroughbred champs, including Christian Lacroix and Monsieur Saint Laurent. And after a string of eccentric talents (Martin Margiela was the man before Gaultier), perhaps Hermès is more interested in making some solid sales rather than tickling funny their customers’ bones. Whatever the case, we won’t know until Lemaire debuts in March for fall 2011.