Courreges was born March 9, 1923 in Pau, France. He studied and became a civil engineer, he was always interested in architecture and textile design. He worked, designing footwear and men’s clothing for a tailor, while occupying himself with Rugby and Mountain climbing. From 1941-1945 Courreges was a pilot in the Air Force in World War II.
In 1945, He came to Paris and worked briefly for a designer named Jeanne LaFaurie. In 1950 he was apprenticed to the Master, Cristobal Balenciaga, also from the Basque region, although he was from Spain. He had been keen to join him for a long time, but only in 1950 did a position open up. He still considers Balenciaga his mentor. He stayed for ten years.
Andre Courreges opened his own house, “Maison de Courreges“ at 48 ave Kleber in 1961. He launched his ‘Space Age’ collection in 1964. He built his dresses rather than designed them. The shapes of his clothes were geometric: squares, trapezoids, triangles. The look included boots, goggles, and Dress and Skirt hems three inches above the knee. The main features of his boxy, uncluttered look spread quickly throughout the fashion world, especially the miniskirt, which he introduced to France. The materials included plastic and metal. He used PVC clothing in his collections. Colours were primary: white, red, yellow, pink, ice-blue, pale turquoise, day-glow orange and lime green…The year 1964 was HIS year, the start of his brief reign as King of Paris Fashion. He also created the MOON GIRL look. In 1965 Courreges reorganized his company, and briefly before he changed his salon, banned the press from his collections (as Balenciaga had also done). When he re-opened, he had a carefully planned 3-tier structure:
„Prototypes“, his couture division „Couture future“, his de-luxe ready to wear „hyperbole“, inexpensive ready to wear.
His new store was located at 40 ave Francois premier.
In 1967 he married his assistant, Coqueline Barriere, who had also been a Balenciaga pupil. Courrèges’ fashion shows were organised by his wife. These were lively presentations featuring athletic, partially nude models. During this year, Courreges began to experiment with tops with sequins and transparency, and designed a see-through mini in sheer organza, appliquéd with his flat round daisies.
In 1968 Courreges hit the headlines with his SPACE AGE collection. His clothes at this time, were functional, uncluttered, futuristic designs. He was fascinated by metal and put his models into metal brassieres and bustiers. Andy Warhol said “Courreges clothes are so beautiful, everyone should look the same, dressed in silver. Silver merges into everything, costumes should be worn during the day with lots of make-up.” Courreges’ clothes were sharp, angular and subject to a highly disciplined design. Simple, stark, trapeze-shape dresses and coats were boldly piped in contrasting colours.
In the early 70’s however, fashion was moving away from the “Space Age” look and there was a passion for romantic clothes, flowery, ethnic peasant looks, etc. Courreges softened the austerity of his clothes by using curves and showing knitted catsuits, and all-white collections.
1971 He introduced the Hyperbole line of sportswear for younger clients.
1972 Courreges was given the honour of designing the garments for 15,000 employees at the 1972 Summer Olympics, in 10 different styles.
1973 He launched his menswear line Courreges Homme.
1979 He diversified into fine leather goods, beauty products and other related products.
1982 In the book 2001, he predicted that clothes would go in the direction of tights, stretching in all directions and body stockings, and it does seem that fashion is going in that direction.
1985 The Japanese group Itokin, took a financial interest in the firm, although Andre Courreges is still designing his beautiful clothes.
In the mid-90’s, when Andre Courreges age crossed 70 he brought in Jean Charles de Castelbajac who began designing for the house of Andre Courreges. Courreges himself still keeps an overall eye on the designs made by his house.
Where do his tennis dresses, his sailor dresses come from? Where did he find them? On the steps of Delphi. In the wardrobe of Electra. They are modern and they are antique.’
Violette Leduc ‘Is Courrèges Wearable?’ Vogue, 1965.
Courreges in Shuushuu y Lulu :
Click on the image and it will take you to the store…
I hope you enjoyed this blog about a classic Designer…equally worth collecting!!! Till Next Time!!