NEW GUARD: Offering exclusive collections has become essential for retailers vying to stay competitive and lure shoppers to their stores. The latest coup for Bergdorf Goodman is the debut collection from Courrèges, which relaunched for spring 2016 with new artistic directors Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, the former designers of buzzy French label Coperni. The launch was celebrated Tuesday evening with a cocktail event on the retailer’s fifth floor.
“We tried to make the collection in a different way; to innovate it, do something different,” said Vaillant. “[André Courrèges] was a visionary, he took a lot of risks. So we decided to work in categories instead of looks…the idea was to use 15 styles in 15 fabrics,” he explained of the spring collection, which also included accessories with a selection of updated bowling bags. “The customer knows what she wants today; she’s very informed. She sees everything on social media. She doesn’t ask for look 24 of whatever season…Maybe she wants the Céline shirt, the Courrèges jacket, the J. Crew jeans.” Meyer and Vaillant will be in New York for a week packed with meetings. “We have a big schedule…but we also want to go to some exhibitions, to a play, to dinners, to nightclubs,” Vaillant said. Courrèges owner Jacques Bungert was also on hand for the event.
The brand has had a storied history at Bergdorf’s and once had its own shop on the retailer’s second floor, according to Elizabeth von der Goltz, senior vice president, general merchandising manager. “I’d been following the two Coperni designers for a while and I thought they were super talented…and I love where they took Courrèges,” she said. “[Back then], it was sort of ‘for the people’ — cool and modern and with a cult following…[and it became] this sort of vintage couture. Now it still looks very Courrèges but with new shapes and new designs.”