With its seasonless signature red knits and chic vinyl jackets, Courrèges on Friday opened a 1,000-square-foot, all-white and mirrored boutique in the SoHo section of Manhattan.
For the Paris-based luxury brand, the opening at 104 Grand Street, previously occupied by a Japanese spectacle shop, marks a return to retailing in the U.S. after a 30-year absence.
It’s also another chapter in the revival of the 61-year-old brand since 2018 when Artémis, the family holding company of French billionaire François Pinault, took full ownership of the company after initially purchasing a stake in the business in 2015.
“This shop is going to perform really well,” Adrien Da Maia, chief executive officer of Courrèges, told WWD during an interview at the site. “I think SoHo speaks to our community and the people who are looking for Courreges.”
It helps that the shop is situated on the northwest corner of Grand and Mercer Streets, getting double exposure, and has conspicuously tall 15-foot windows.
Designed by Belgian architect Bernard Dubois, the shop is punctuated by curved lacquered wood fixtures and a floor that curves up rising seamlessly into the walls. The ceiling is completely mirrored and has “club grade” track lighting, and the area by the fitting room is also mirrored, floor to ceiling, on all three sides.
“We love the idea of a mirrored box,” said Courrèges’ artistic director Nicolas Di Felice.
Inside the fitting room there are more mirrors, creating “an infinity illusion inside, like a fun house,” Di Felice observed. Or perhaps disco-inspired? “I am really obsessed with clubs from the ’60s, ’70s, the ’90s, too,” he professed.
The women’s fashion is displayed along both sides of the shop, with the “rainbow” array of knits as well as cropped jackets on the left, in contrast to the darker winter merchandise including coats, dresses and jackets on the right, all in black or forest green. Among the current bestsellers: the leather trucker jackets and the vinyl zipper dresses.
“The age range of our customers is really wide. We have 20-year-olds and we have 50-year-olds. The brand has a large appeal,” said Da Maia.
Courrèges was founded in 1961 by French designer André Courrèges and his wife Coqueline. Courrèges, considered the father of “Space Age” fashion, also pioneered go-go boots and mini-skirts. They sold the business to former Young & Rubicam ad executives Jacques Bungert and Frédéric Torloting in 2011, who sold a stake in the business to Artemis in 2015, which subsequently bought 100 percent of the brand. Courrèges died in January 2016.
Two years ago, when Da Maia and Di Felice joined Courrèges, “we started to rewrite the vocabulary of the house,” Di Felice said. It’s been a journey modernizing the brand while being inspired by its archives and mindful of its DNA.
They’ve been gradually reopening Courrèges stores, just two stores in Paris so far, including renovating the historic boutique on Rue François Premier in September 2020 and subsequently opening a second store in the Marais district. A third is expected to open in the city at the end of September. The revival has also entailed revamping the website and developing product categories including menswear, accessories and fragrance. Aside from its own boutiques, Courrèges is sold at several upscale department and specialty stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Maxfield’s, and The Webster.
“We had up to 30 stores in the U.S in the heyday of the brand in the ’70s,” said Da Maia. The first Courrèges shop opened in 1973 in Beverly Hills and in 1974 the second shop opened on Madison Avenue.
Asked if now more stores are in the works, Da Maia said, “The U.S. is our biggest market outside of France. We have plans for expansion but nothing is confirmed yet. We have no stores in Asia, but it’s going to happen.”
“Everybody is thinking to close stores and we are totally the opposite,” added Di Felice.