PARIS — Courrèges has appointed Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, the duo behind rising French label Coperni, as artistic directors of women’s wear. They become the first official designers at the helm of the brand since Space Age designer André Courrèges and his wife and creative partner Coqueline sold the company in 2011.
The pair, who are among the eight finalists for the next LVMH Prize, will put Coperni on hold in order to focus on their new job, said Jacques Bungert, co-owner and co-president of Courrèges with Frédéric Torloting.
They will show their first collection for spring 2016, although the format of the presentation has yet to be defined, Torloting added in an interview at the brand’s historic headquarters on Rue François 1er. The line will be available in a limited number of points of sale.
Meyer, 26, and Vaillant, 25, won last year’s ANDAM First Collections Prize and have earned plaudits for their cool contemporary collections.
“They are incredibly talented,” said Bungert, lauding the humility and professionalism of the designers.
“They have run their own firm, which means they consider both the creative and commercial aspect of what they do — the wearability of their clothes,” he added. “They are passionate about fabrics and fabrications, which is clear from their work and matters a lot to us, because at Courrèges, fabric is king.”
Bungert said the nomination marked the end of the first phase of the brand’s redevelopment, which included the renovation of its production facilities in Pau in southwestern France and taking back its perfume license.
During that time, Courrèges collaborated with brands including Eastpak, Evian and Estée Lauder and its collections were conceived by an in-house team of designers.
It will now focus on expanding its retail and wholesale presence. In addition to its historic store and a pop-up on the Left Bank, Courrèges has an outlet store at the One Nation mall west of Paris and a shop in Luxembourg. The brand is present in around 300 points of sale worldwide, including some 80 in Japan.
“It’s really exciting because we are entering a new era,” Bungert said. “Youth is deeply ingrained in the brand and I think that tapping that youthful energy is not neutral for Courrèges.”
In a joint statement, Meyer and Vaillant echoed his sentiment. “There is one fundamental in the work of André and Coqueline Courrèges that touches us in particular: youth. It gives us the strength to believe that with Courrèges, anything is possible, even the most ambitious dreams,” they said.
Bungert and Torloting, who previously ran the French division of advertising agency Young & Rubicam, believe Courrèges is poised to regain its position in the pantheon of great French brands. “It is our duty to invent and to propose a certain vision of the future,” Torloting insisted.