Alas, here we are in the year 2015, to witness Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant's debut collection for the re-launch of this iconic house. André Courrèges is a name synonymous with sixties space race style. Along with Paco Rabanne, Rudi Greenreich, and Pierre Cardin, Courrèges was a house that defined the futuristic age. The era of which these designers dreamed of never actually arrived, and as such their designs are increasingly becoming ironically relevant. Take a look at the freshness that Nicolas Ghesquière has injected into the house of Louis Vuitton, and know it is the influence of these modernist masters that is floating in a spaceship nearby. For the re-launch of the label, the designers at the house of Courrèges avoided post-modern satire and canned pop. They gave us clothes we really want to wear.
Invitations comprised of a red and white plastic, like a room key to the world of the now, the next, and the sixties, the decade of plastic optimism. Before the show started, the two designers gave a short talk about their vision for the house, and the collection we were about to see. Their professionalism and commitment in talking directly to industry was an encouraging sign of what was to come. The key take away from their concise yet relaxed speech was 'simplicity'. They announced they would be presenting just 15 designs using 15 different materials and colours. Evolving the idea of 'ready-to-wear' to 'ready-to-live', this no doubt plugged into the plans for the new owners of the brand to launch Courrèges as a huge lifestyle brand, encompassing beauty, architecture and interiors. Seeing as our life is now lived in squares, the brand has also just relaunched the sixties Courrèges zine, Bonjour Courrèges!, on Instagram. The brand hopes these moves will be the first building blocks of an empire.
So, the clothes. Perfecto patchwork jackets were, erm, perfect - and were offered in the three primary colours, as options. The following short section saw key bomber jackets arrived in buttery brown suede, crackled PVC and silver leather.
Historians still tussle over whether it was André Courrèges or Mary Quant who invented the mini-skirt. Today the house waved the flag for the French version of events. The mini skirts felt empathetic to the female form, fresh and sporty. The minimal precision that gently caressed the lines of the hips celebrated shape rather than just exposure. André Courrèges was once assistant to the master of all fashion architects: Cristobel Balenciaga. And it was his design lineage which could be seen here today. Circular seams cut around the body and were punctuated by rows of little poppers. Later on in the collection, these skirts were deconstructed/reconstructed into sporty cropped waistcoats.
Modernist white knitted turtle necks were worn under silver sequin camisoles and were galactic chic. Cross your heart city handbags were vintage futuristic. Structured like fifties Kelly bags but with a Youthquake Perspex handle at the back, they were reminiscent of the designs Prada has riffed off in recent years. Tired of seeing other people's archives within the designs of other labels, one has to be all for designers coming forth and reclaiming their own heritage. Unlike the revolving doors of Vionnet and Schiaparelli, this house has hopefully taken one step for Spring/Summer 2016 - and one giant leap for fashion.