Remembering Monsieur Courrèges
Very sad news. André Courrèges, the French fashion designer and sculpteur, died at the age of 92 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, at his home in Neuilly-sue-Seine, near Paris. André Courrèges was the founder and catalyst of the space-age fashion movement in the ’60s, he was a true revolutionary figures, responsible for liberating women from the strict, feminine silhouettes of the ’50s in favor of miniskirts, peekaboo A-line dresses, and his infamous white ankle boots. André Courrèges was also known for being one of the first couturier who worked with black models. We thank him for all the beautiful work he did all over the years. He’ll be truly missed. Rest in peace.
André Courrèges Biography by Agence France Presse (AFP):
Born on March 9, 1923, in Pau, Courrèges was a radical force in 1960s fashion, helping to define a new sort of independence for women with space-age styles that became icons of a generation.
Courrèges initially studied and worked as a civil engineer before switching to fashion and spending a decade working for designer Cristobal Balenciaga.
He formed his own label in 1961, and it was a collection three years later that thrust him into the spotlight and made him, for a short but significant while, the king of French fashion.
Angular mini dresses and trouser suits in stark black-and-white color schemes were combined with goggles and helmets taken from astronauts that became known as the Moon Girl look.
He set the trends for stars such as Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve and his house returned to the catwalk only two years ago after several years away.
He was a pioneer of formal trousers for women and a long and bitter dispute continues over whether he was first to popularise the miniskirt ahead of British designer Mary Quant.
His little white dress became an enduring image of the Swinging Sixties, and regardless of who came first, his miniskirts were widely accepted to be the shortest, and designed in eye-popping colours and heavy materials such as gabardine that became hugely popular.
Courrèges also took the bold step of replacing high heels with his famed flat white boots.His style — often with lots of metal — was a particular hit with artist Andy Warhol.
“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,” Warhol once said.
French singer Michel Delpech paid tribute to the designer in a 1965 song “Inventaire 66” whose opening lines were “A mini-skirt and two Courrèges boots.”
Courrèges, who stopped working in the 1990s, passed away on Thursday after a 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, the Maison de Courrèges said in a statement.
“André Courrèges put his stamp on French high fashion,” said President Francois Hollande on Friday.
“A revolutionary creator, using geometric shapes and new materials, Courrèges was a style and an epoch,” Hollande added.
Fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac hailed Courrèges as a “visionary” who “came at a time of frills and furbelows and stripped it of non-essentials to take fashion to a new phase.”
And Courrèges’s contemporary Paco Rabanne said he was a “very important figure in fashion.”
Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin added: “He was ultimately the inventor of a universe of forms and colours where elegance was conceived with fantasy, humour and the greatest freedom of spirit and movement.”
After his burst of success in 1964, Courrèges aimed to popularise fashion by offering affordable versions of his clothes.
In 1972, he designed the uniforms for staff at the Munich Olympic Games.
Courrèges, who had also been a pilot during World War II, married his assistant Coqueline Barrière in 1967.
She took over artistic direction of the company when he retired in 1994, moving into painting and sculpture in his later years.
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