“It’s been a while,” said the invitation for the Courrèges show. In typical adman fashion, Jacques Bungert and Frédéric Torloting, the former Young & Rubicam executives who bought the brand in 2011, were acknowledging the fact that it hadn’t staged a runway show in 13 years.
The display, held in the basement of the Opéra Bastille, marked the debut of Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant as artistic directors of women’s wear at the Space Age label. They hit the reset button by showing 15 designs in 15 fabrics on models in white ribbed bodysuits — the sartorial equivalent of a blank canvas.
“It can be as easy as posting pictures of our lives in basic squares. Over time, we hope that these building blocks will become a foundation in a full story, one that is still being written,” said Vaillant, who alongside Meyer took the unusual step of introducing the show.
There were variations on the classic Courrèges jacket, done in leather, brown suede or panels of laser-cut vinyl interwoven into geometric motifs. Slightly longer versions came in patchworks of primary colors, and featured back details such as zips and V-shaped panels.
A-line dresses and miniskirts — one consisting of two circles held together with snaps — nodded to the geometric aesthetic of founders André and Coqueline Courrèges. But Meyer and Vaillant loosened up constructions with vents and pleats, and used curved seams to add movement to pants and camisole slips. They even showed — gasp — jeans with distinctive diagonal belt loops. It was a breath of fresh air that should put wind in the sails of the brand as it seeks a minority investor to help fund its expansion.