Saturday, January 09, 2016
Couture Astranaut: Fashion designer André Courrèges (1923-2015)
passed away yesterday at the age of 92 after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. Courrèges worked under Cristobal Balenciaga until 1961, when he launched his Maison de la Haute Couture. He met his wife, Coqueline, while at Balenciaga. Together with his contemporaries, Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabanne, he became famous for his Futurist designs that revolutionized fashion during the 1960's.
Boxy, A-Line...Ankle Boots! 60's Modernistic Couture from André Courrèges
Spage-Age 1960's: Fashion designer André Courrèges with his designs
Courrèges was most know for his Modernist "Space-Age" styles. He redefined the silhouettes and styles from what was then, rather strict lady-like shapes. He was known for peek-a-boo dresses, miniskirts (André Courrèges is widely credited as inventing the mini, even though some would dispute this and give credit to British designer Mary Quant), jumpsuits, and what would become iconic accessories such as flat ankle boots and bug-eye "Space" sunglasses. He loved using unusual materials such as PVC and plastic as well as favored the A-line shape, saying that he wanted clothes to "float".
Onesie Gals: Colorful ribbed Knit with white fur onsesie looks from André Courrèges
He celebrated the moon landing by designing a onesie. Oh, and it was mirrored! Courrèges could often be seen wearing get-ups like Mylar jumpsuits and shiny white go-go boots (naturally!). NASA even brought him in to visit mission control at Cape Canavaral, probably a first for a fashion designer.
My Space-Age Homme Muse: Designer André Courrèges
Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Betsy Bloomingdale, Jacqueline Kennedy as well as her sister Lee Radziwill, among others were devotees of his fashion-forward designs:
Audrey Hepburn (above)--from a shot of the 1966 film "How to Steal a Million"
Socialite Lee Radziwill in André Courrèges Haute Couture--Dress and jacket made of plastic and fur, which she gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City
Yellow coat from André Courrèges 1968 Collection--worn by Mrs. Alfred Bloomingdale (Betsy Bloomingdale)--The suit is entirely made by hand, exclusively using french seams throughout the coat and features varnished leather buttons. It was gifted to the FIDM Museum & Galleries
Photos courtesy of FIDM Museum
In the ’90s, he left his label to become a painter and sculptor, and his wife and longtime collaborator Coqueline took over design duties at the house. Since then, the House of Courrèges has changed owners and designers; the latest of which seem to be inclined to follow the designer's original Futuristic directive.