It seems we constantly go back in time, just as if there is a nostalgia feeling flooding us all. Youth culture comes back and forth, fashion comes back and forth, and political issues come back and forth. Chanel recently presented an unusual collection inspired by all things futuristic—à la Karl Lagerfeld, of course. Something very similar happened during the 60’s. A new wave of youth culture emerged in London almost twenty years after WWII; with it a fresh aesthetic overflow the Parisian fashion scene.
Cristóbal Balenciaga, the great Spanish couturier, created dresses with an architectural and exquisite technique. In his atelier, André Courrèges—his assistant for ten years—had his first approach with dressmaking. It was him who started believing in the idea of futuristic fashion—the king of space-age fashion, or as he was often known, “Le Corbusier of Couture.” Yves Saint Laurent called his space movement an “explosion,” and Michael Kors told Vogue in 1991: “I came of age in the sixties and seventies, and the whole clean, linear look of Courrèges is what I grew up with.”
André Courregès was born in Pau, a city in the south of France—where he later built his “manufacturing hub.” He was originally a civil engineer and had some studies in architecture. His sportswear, extraterrestrial design aesthetic broke with haute couture’s authoritative regulations; geometric A-line vinyl dresses, mid-calf white boots, structured pants, and orbital collars. Courrèges attempt to brake the rules was an uprising of the new youth culture that demanded a change—splash of metallic and vibrant colours, mischievous see-through dresses, frisky patterns, and intricately knits.
Designing for the women of today and the future were part of his visionary theory, almost as if he was abolishing social classes. He is credited, along with British designer Mary Quant, with the creation of the miniskirt—his autumn/winter 1964 collection was his first attempt at A-line miniskirts paired up with his famous white leather boots.
He was a firm believer of the future, an astounding pioneer and a real inspiration to designers nowadays. He died almost a year ago, leaving a marvellous legacy. His eponymous brand was revived six months before his death with LVMH Prize finalists Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant as Creative Directors. They presented a collection with signature Courrèges pieces and silhouettes; almost as if they knew the fashion industry would be mourning his death by the time it would debut in stores. The perfect tribute to a trailblazer.
Written by MARÍA JOSÉ GNZLVZ
Visual editor MARÍA JOSÉ GNZLVZ
Photos by voguerunway.com and the6milliondollarstory.com