PARIS — Courrèges has appointed Nicolas Di Felice as artistic director, making him the latest member of Nicolas Ghesquière’s inner circle to be put in charge of his own designer brand. This confirms a WWD report in January that Di Felice was poised to succeed Yolanda Zobel at the helm of the house.
Previously senior women’s wear designer at Louis Vuitton under Ghesquière, Di Felice is taking the reins at Courrèges on Thursday and will report to Adrien Da Maia, who took over as chief executive officer in March, the brand said.
The duo is charged with rebooting the Space Age label, which is owned by Artémis, French billionaire François Pinault’s family holding company. Di Felice will present his first collection for Courrèges in March 2021.
“I’ve always dreamed of Courrèges, with its radical and enveloping universe. It is a house which means a lot to me and in which I see myself. Its simplicity, clarity, not to mention its optimism — I am honored to keep these values alive, and I hope to do so with as much passion and enthusiasm as the house’s founder,” Di Felice said in a statement.
Originally from Belgium, Di Felice joined Ghesquière’s team at Balenciaga in 2008 shortly after graduating from La Cambre, remaining at the brand for six years. After a brief stint at Dior under Raf Simons, he was reunited with Ghesquière at Vuitton in 2015.
He is the latest designer to rise to stardom from Ghesquière’s ranks: Natacha Ramsay-Levi, creative director of Chloé, was a longtime key associate to Ghesquière and worked as creative director of women’s ready-to-wear at Louis Vuitton from 2013 to 2017.
Julien Dossena was named creative director of Paco Rabanne, another prominent label born in the Sixties, after working as a senior designer at Balenciaga. Both Ramsay-Levi and Dossena remain on good terms with Ghesquière, with the designers frequently attending each other’s shows.
Da Maia described Di Felice’s appointment as “a great day in the history of Courrèges.” The executive, who formerly ran French contemporary label Surface to Air, added: “His clear, modern vision for the brand is perfectly in sync with the house’s timeless values. I am confident that Nicolas’ talent will enable Courrèges to keep embodying the promises of the future.”
Founded in 1961 by André and Coqueline Courrèges, the label became known for its graphic A-line dresses, emphasis on white and use of vinyl. A selection of iconic styles will be reedited and made available for sale by the end of the year in the house’s flagship on Rue François 1er in Paris, which is under renovation.
Artémis entered the capital of Courrèges in 2015 and acquired full ownership in September 2018, when it bought out Jacques Bungert and Frédéric Torloting, the former Young & Rubicam executives who had purchased Courrèges from its founders in 2011.