GIRLS ON FILM: Christelle Kocher is expanding her brand into an artists’ collective.
The French designer, whose Koché label blends streetwear influences and references to contemporary art, on Thursday evening held a screening of “Dream Baby Dream,” a short film directed by Helena Klotz featuring items from her spring 2017 collection.
Kocher gave carte blanche to Klotz, who was art director on Jacques Audiard’s feature film “Dheepan,” which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. Shot in two parts, her movie eschews dialogue to focus on random characters, including a lesbian couple in the throes of a passionate affair.
Kocher said there was a militant dimension to the film, screened in an art-house cinema in a scruffy neighborhood of Paris just three days before the second round of the presidential election pitting center-left candidate Emmanuel Macron against far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
Introducing the film, she reported that Delphine Rafferty — a longtime muse of the brand who plays one of the characters — had been violently assaulted in a bar only days earlier in a homophobic attack.
“I wanted to show a certain form of freedom and openness that reflects what Paris represents for me and the values I want to convey for my brand, which are important to drive home today, given this political climate which is very oppressive,” she told WWD.
“It reflects what I try to show in my catwalk casting: a cosmopolitan, multiracial Paris that has no issues with gender and that embraces diversity,” she added. “This is a visual brand, but it has deep political values. It’s done in a very light-handed way, but also with a lot of depth.”
Klotz had previously filmed short movies for the brand on her iPhone, but the new project marks the start of a more professional effort, which will see different artists and filmmakers contributing imagery every season.
Kocher, who is also artistic director of Maison Lemarié, one of 12 specialty ateliers owned by Chanel through its subsidiary Paraffection, has a history of showing her collections in public places, such as the Forum des Halles, the vast shopping center in central Paris popular with suburban teens.
“Koché is a brand, but it’s also a meeting point for different artistic disciplines in Paris, and I think that’s also what I try to communicate in my shows, which are a combination of performance, art, dance, people and artists — but also an opening on France and on the world,” she said.