Revival of French brand Courreges starts with 'building-blocks'

1st October 2015, Comments 0 comments

Iconic sixties fashion house Courreges made its comeback in Paris on Wednesday with a new vision of ready-to-wear, presenting a building-blocks collection of 15 designs in 15 different materials and colours.

The brand that made its mark with Andre Courreges's futuristic space-age designs went back to basics 13 years after its last runway show, under new creative directors Arnaud Vaillant and Sebastien Meyer.

The second day of Fashion Week in the French capital also saw John Galliano unveil a Japanese-inspired collection for Maison Margiela, bold patterns from Belgium's Dries Van Noten and Carine Roitfeld's designs for Uniqlo.

But all eyes were on Vaillant and Meyer when they made the unusual move of taking to the stage before the show to explain their new vision to the public.

"Since our beginning at Courreges we took the notion of simplicity as a fundamental principle of our creative process," said Meyer, 26.

"This is why today you will not see like, lots of looks, you will only see 15 designs in 15 materials and colours."

A basic white bodysuit was teamed with a series of jackets and waistcoats with rounded edges, then a series of high-waisted trousers and miniskirts -- one of the brand's most iconic pieces from the 60s out of 225 possible looks.

Then came a few mini shift dresses.

"We believe that ready-to-wear should express the spirit of ready-to-live, how we live today," 25-year-old Vaillant said.

"Women today are very switched-on. If you like your jacket, you will be delighted to find it in denim for the day, leather at night and mesh for the weekend -- it allows you to switch, project yourself into different moments."

The outfits were in a palette of bright yellow, brick-red, black, beige and blue while Courreges's love of different textures remained with use of vinyl, leather and suede.

- 'Second creative cycle' -

The last runway show by the fashion house was in 2002. Since 2011, when Andre Courreges, now 92, handed over the reins of the company to advertising duo Jacques Bungert and Frederic Torloting, presentations of collections have been by appointment only.

However the appointment of Meyer and Vaillant in May, who have their own brand, Coperni, took the revival of the brand into a new phase.

"The style, the Courreges brand was so strong, we took our time to rebuild a platform to allow us to envision the second creative cycle," said Bungert, the president of the brand.

"Whenever we want to talk about modernity, we are inspired by Courreges. And it just so happens the 60s were optimistic and that resonates today."

Galliano also brought the "DIY" spirit to his second ready-to-wear collection for Margiela, wrapping a torn cricket jumper in plastic wrapping and printing paint stains on the back of a white pleated dress or black coat.

Men sported long dresses and necklines to the navel in his show at the Paris Fashion Week, a nine-day fashion frenzy that marks the last stop for the 2016 spring/summer womenswear collections after New York, London and Milan.

The second part of the collection takes inspiration from Japan, including kimono jackets and belts where bows are replaced with small bags.

But unlike Courreges -- and despite the pleas of the photographers -- British designer Galliano did not take to the stage, continuing the tradition of anonymity started by the brand's founder, Martin Margiela.

A string quartet accompanied Dries Van Noten's show in a huge hangar, where the industrial setting contrasted strongly with the flamboyant colours and patterns splashed across the Belgian designer's creations.

The collection also played with contrast: grey checked trousers softened a printed pink veil, a strict suit jacket was teamed with shiny trousers, a top that resembled a second skin met a sequinned bra.

Carine Roitfeld's collection for Japanese giant Uniqlo meanwhile reflected her classic sexy-chic style, with pencil skirts, fake fur jackets, leopard-print silk blouses and vinyl jackets.


© 2015 AFP

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