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André Courrèges (pronounced: [andʁe kuʁɛʒ]; born 9 March 1923 in Pau) is a French fashion designer, known for his futuristic designs. At 25, after studying to be a civil engineer, he went to Paris to work at the fashion house Jeanne Lafaurie. A few months later, he went to Balenciaga.
Courrèges was influenced by modern architecture, technology, new fabrics, and modernism and futurism in art and design. Several designers lay similar claim, including Coco Chanel, who worked with and knew many modern artists, and Mary Quant, whose career parallels those of Courrèges in some ways (both Courrèges and Mary Quant lay claim to the invention of the miniskirt). Courrèges pushed his ideas to the extreme, producing some of the 20th century's most distinctive designs.
In 1961, Courrèges launched his Maison de Couture, featuring his signature little white dress and a trouser suit. Courrèges launched his 'Space Age' collection in 1964. His silhouettes took geometry as a reference: squares, trapezoids, triangles. The look included boots, goggles, and hems that fell to three inches above the knee. The main features of his "constructed", streamlined look caught on in the fashion world, especially the miniskirt. Courrèges's favoured materials include plastic and metal. He has also used PVC clothing in his collections. Colours were primary: metallic, white, red, yellow, etc. In 1966, Courrèges launched a new perfume, and, in 1967, women began wearing his 'second-skin' all-over tights.
Courrèges' later creations included sweater pants, parkas, tennis dresses, beach clothes and mechanic-style coveralls. He also produced fanciful items such as a glow-in-the-dark jersey dress and an array of swimsuits, held together only by thin strings on the sides. He continued to use bright acid colors and geometric designs. High-street retailers adapted his ideas. Soon after he showed his space-age collection in 1964, the market was flooded with plastic skirts and jackets, angular seaming, crash helmets, white boots, and goggles.
In early 1983 Courrèges worked with Japanese motor company Honda to design special editions of their TACT motor scooter. In 2005, Itokin was the Courrègesready-to-wear license holder in Japan with retail value of €50 million.
As of 2012, 50% of total income was from license royalties.
Notes and references
- Erik Orsenna (2008). Courrèges (in French). Éditions Xavier Barral. p. 228. ISBN 978-2-915173-27-7.
- Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9.
- André Courrèges at the Fashion Model Directory
- "Interactive timeline of couture houses and couturier biographies". Victoria and Albert Museum.