Interview: Courrèges' new artistic directors
Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer share their own vision of the parisian house Courrèges.
Numéro: How did you perceive the house of Courrèges before actually joining it?
Arnaud Vaillant: For us, it was one of the most beautiful French fashion houses, inexhaustible with an incredible legacy and a distinct style that needed to be continued.
André and Coqueline Courrèges were revolutionaries; they had a vision of modernity and the future, and they worked on progress with such confidence. Obviously you have to maintain that philosophy and ambition, all while adapting to today by being contemporary.
What was the brief when you arrived?
Arnaud Vaillant: There was no brief, just lots of freedom and respect.
Why did you present tops without bottoms, and vice versa, for your first runway show?
Sébastien Meyer: We wanted to concentrate on the clothes and not suggest a look, which strikes us as an outdated vision of what ready-to-wear should be today. We wanted to work around functionality and perfect shapes that will stand the test of time; the essential items in a wardrobe which are the jacket, the dress, skirt, top and trousers. It’s a product-based approach, which lies at the heart of our concept. Our idea is to make cool, wearable, young clothes that can be renewed season after season.
The house of Courrèges was known for architectural pieces that subtly play with simple geometric shapes. How do you plan to reinterpret this vocabulary?
Arnaud Vaillant: It’s one of the many values we have in common with this house. André Courrèges was passionate about architecture and was nicknamed, “Le Corbusier of couture”. And we ourselves draw inspiration from brutalism which is why we approach the silhouette in an architectural way. We’ve always put shape at the root of our aesthetic language in a manner that is both minimalist and refined. You can see that in the collection with very structured silhouettes, the playing with materials and colours
The Courrèges vocabulary has been frequently copied over the last few years. Was it difficult to for you to reclaim it after all these versions and “borrowing”?
Sébastien Meyer: Courrèges rhymes with modernity. When you’re at Courrèges you have a duty to invent. It’s funny because as soon as a designer wants to express modernity, they’re “inspired” by Courrèges… But we’re lucky enough to be at the very heart of this inspiration.
Arnaud Vaillant: Our work at Courrèges today is about moving forward with our own interpretation of this vocabulary. And boy is it rich! It’s so exciting, there’s a lot to be done here.
With its vinyl cropped jackets and trapeze mini-dresses, the Courrèges look is youthful, will you be maintaining this parameter?
Sébastien Meyer: Courrèges invented youth, that’s what this brand embodies and what we want to promote. We started the hashtag #bonjourcourreges on Instagram, which continues where André Courrèges’ magazine left off, celebrating youth and freedom, just as he did. Beyond clothing it features productions with artists who also embody a contemporary modernity. We’re addressing the youth of today.
Read our review of the fashion show 2016.
Interview by Delphine Roche.
Aurnaud Vaillant and Sebastien Meyer