André Courrèges  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

André Courrèges (9 March 1923 – 7 January 2016) was 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 modernist architecture, technology, new fabrics, and modernism and futurism in art and design and he is said to have started modernist fashion with his 1964 Space Age collection. 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.


Career in fashion

In 1961 Courrèges opened his Maison de Couture with his little white dress and a trouser suit.

Space Age

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 hems three inches above the knees. 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 uses PVC clothing in his collections. Colours were primary: metallic, white, red, yellow... From the perspective of publicity, the collection was an absolute sensation. However, it is worth remembering that fashion houses have always made their sales mostly from mature and older women. Skirts above knee length in bright colours and geometric shapes made from unyielding fabrics may look fine on a young model. They are less ideal for the clientele of most fashion houses.

Later creations

In 1966 he launched a new perfume, and in 1967 women began wearing his 'second-skin' all-over tights. This idea is still in vogue today.

Among Courrèges' later creations were sweater pants, parkas, tennis dresses, beach clothes and mechanic-style coveralls. In contrast he also came out with a glow-in-the-dark jersey dress and an array of swimsuits, held together only by thin strings on the sides. He continued with his bright acid colors and geometrical designs. He was much copied by high-street retailers who toned down the ideas to better suit everyday wear. Shortly 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.


Courrèges was influence by modern architecture, technology, new fabrics, and modernism and futurism in art and design. Several others trod a similar path: Coco Chanel, who worked with and knew many modern artists, and Mary Quant, whose career paralled Courrèges in some ways. Courrèges was the one who pushed these ideas to the extreme, making some really memorable designs.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "André Courrèges" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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