Lots of information, I know – but I think everybody should know his story!
“André Courrèges is a French fashion designer, known for his ultra-modern designs. At the age of 25, after studying to be a civil engineer, he went to Paris to work at Geanne Lafaurie fashion design house. A few months later he went over to Balenciaga, the renowned Spanish designer. In 1961 Courrèges opened his Maison de Couture with his little white dress and a trouser suit.
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…
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 influenced 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.
He and Mary Quant lay claim to the invention of the miniskirt.”
Images via LIFE.