Back from the Dead

Courrèges Reboots in Paris

As the ready-to-wear shows drew to a close in Paris on Wednesday, Courrèges was just getting started. The legendary brand best known for the shape-shifting, bright designs that made it famous in the 1960s is in full reboot mode, following a relaunch last year. On Wednesday, they presented their fall/winter collection in a minimalist white showroom above their flagship store near the Champs-Élysées.

For the occasion, the brand’s new ownership ordered up reissues of some of the house’s most iconic pieces as well as new designs which exude the same joie de vivre as the originals.

Some of the iconic looks back in rotation include bright orange workman pantsuits, plastic trench coats, and silver boots that would make for a pretty stylized moonwalk. Newer fare, like a black-and-gray pinafore printed with a Fouli Elia photo, exemplify the sort of 1960s futurism that’s recently come back into style. For winter, it meant an added focus on Courrèges’s famous Eskimo sunglasses.

But opting out of the unveiling a few days before his 90th birthday, the house’s retired founder, André Courrèges, stayed home for the day with his wife Coqueline who now serves as one of the brand’s advisors. In their place, the brand’s new owners, Jacques Bungert and Frédéric Torloting, former advertising presidents at Young & Rubicam, greeted guests.

Unlike other brands’ presentations, there was no lead designer in sight. “We decided our model was no design stars and none of the craziness that comes with the business, like so many doing collections each year” Bungert told The Daily Beast. “Our model is the product, the woman, distribution and digital; we are doing things our way.” Instead of choosing a blockbuster creative director to lead the brand into its new chapter, an in-house design team has been put in place: “Some of the designers here worked with André so they have the brand in their blood,” Bungert said.

Moving forward, the company plans to open a stand-alone store this year along with expanding its e-business. Explains Bungert: “We want to put Courrèges back where it was and put it back in the light of the world.”