The father of miniskirts and PVC in fashion
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Founded in 1961 by André Courrèges, the French brand Courrèges became known for its modernist and futuristic aesthetic, for which he was named the Space Age Designer.
The French designer André Courrèges was born in 1923. He began his career in fashion at 25, when he moved to Paris and worked a few months for Jeanne Lafaurie. After that he worked for ten years for Cristobal Balenciaga, learning all from one of the masters of Haute Couture. It was there that he met his future wife and creative partner, Coqueline, with whom he worked his entire life. In 1961 he launched his fashion house, designing simple and modern clothes for the active woman. By 1965, he was already making waves, with his Couture Future Collection. It was with this collection that he invented the mini-skirt - although the British designer Mary Quant said she’d created it! - His miniskirts and A-line cutout mini-dresses with geometric designs in primary colours, paired with white or coloured calf-high boots changed the concept of couture and became the trademark look of the 60s. The designer also was the one who introduced the use of PVC in fashion.
In 2011, the couple sold the house to former advertising executives Jacques Bungert and Frédéric Torloting, and 40% of the company belongs to François Pinault.
Courrèges after Courrèges
The two first official designers after the label was sold, were Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant. The design duo created smart collections focusing on Courrèges futuristic concept, but because the sales weren’t as good as expected, they left Courrèges after only two years. François Pinault explained that the company was “struggling and undergoing a restructuring”.
Who is Yolanda Zobel?
German Yolanda Zobel is the new artistic director of Courrèges. She presented her first collection in September 2018. Upon the announcement of her new position, Zobel said that Courèges was “a house that has inspired me and an entire generation of designers with its anti-conformism, its avant-garde spirit and its irresistible joie de vivre.” Although her name is relatively unknown, the German designer has been in fashion for the past 20 years, as a freelance designer for several brands and also for Jill Sanders, Chloe and Armani. IG photo by @mark_peckmezian
The future of Courrèges
Bungert and Torloting, the new owners of the French label, believe that with Zobel as its creative head, a new cycle is starting “so that Courrèges regains a leading position, both creatively and commercially.” The new artistic director was part of the Berlin underground club-scene and the fashion collective GmgH. She says she wants the new Courrèges to “grow from the urge of creating a whole new universe for a free human, ahead of its time, explorative, courageous, self-aware, confident in his body and human energy, engaged and yet able to indulge in liberating moments of fun.”
We can’t wait to see what she will do.
Portrait by Vincent Knapp