The two advertising executives whom André and Coqueline Courrèges chose to take over their fashion house aimed to reawaken a sleeping beauty. Which they've done, with the magic intact!
Courrèges is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. How do you explain that? André didn't draw on anything for inspiration so he created a style that's pure genius! On occasion some designers overstep the inspiration mark and plagiarise the Courrèges style, which is annoying but when you look closely a copy isn't as good as an original with that inimitable technique and construction. We'd like to tell them to invent something, like André did in his day! The concept of Pop Culture luxury was his alone, he promoted "poptimism" values, as in joie de vivre and connecting with ordinary people.
Can you define this "pop luxury"? It's about luxury pricing and top-class finishes but with a popular arty dimension, in the same sense as Warhol. Courrèges is grounded in real life, the clothes are fun and easy to wear. When we collaborate with Eastpak (the collection is on sale now) we're not betraying that, the Courrèges spirit is definitely present! This connection is part of our genetic makeup – in the Sixties André and Coqueline didn't only speak to the wealthy, they wanted to change the world.
How do you explain this success? "A woman dressed in Courrèges feels a surge of optimism," André Courrèges once said, and that makes women want to treat themselves and assert themselves. It's fashion that's fun. Our clothes make all bodies trim and chic, and you can want to be elegant at any age. Plus the label is often linked with special memories – one man told us he'd fallen in love for the first time with a woman wearing Courrèges. That emotion means we have a moral duty.
How are the present collections created? We keep the forms very pure. We're lucky to be able to engage a young team that started out with André Courrèges so knows the style DNA inside out. The iconic products now represent only 20% of the collection. The materials and colours are evolving, we're inventing new fabrics. We're a design brand that incorporates the gene of innovation.
No artistic director, no fashion shows... why? This is a great house that doesn't have the financial status it should. If we organise a fashion show it has to be grandiose. Above all, Courrèges needs to re-establish itself. In styling, the creation platform is our strong point; Coqueline managed to preserve that over the years.
What plans do you have? We're opening our Pop Store in the Paris shop, which will showcase everything that's new. Initially it's devoted to the relaunch of our Courrèges in Blue perfume, later people will find our collaborations or accessories there. We'd also like to do menswear. But our fundamental aim is to get women to try on our clothes – when a dress is zipped up, the client is won over.
By Julie de los Rios