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Courrèges AW17 womenswear paris dazed
Courrèges AW17Courtesy of Courrèges

The new Courrèges is fun, French and futuristic

Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant are creating a label that looks to the archives but feels definitively of the present

Usually you don't actually hear from designers until after you’ve seen a show, but this morning Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant – who have headed up French brand Courrèges since mid-2015 – debuted their collection with a speaking presentation. Standing in front of a video screen on which images were featured, the young designer duo explained their unique thinking for AW17.

Instead of hiring models, they invited their friends to take a piece from the collection, try it on with their own clothes, and be photographed in it. The result was a characterful series of portraits, starring the likes of make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench, model turned actress Audrey Marnay and Sasha Melnychuk. Each combined the new designs (which included poppy colours, dresses and jackets with gloves and mittens unexpectedly attached, and the mini-est of mini skirts) with their own personal sense of style. The result was a series which showed how the collection can really be embodied, rather than simply worn.

It was a refreshingly modern take, but then again, house founder Andre Courrèges was renowned for his futurism. He defined the look of the 1960s with his high hemlines and mod mini dresses, creating a liberated, youthful design vision for women. Elements of his legacy form the core of the house’s current output, from archive-inspired patent jackets to the short skirts which he pioneered, knitwear, architectural dresses, and a focus on innovation. Still, everything looks and feels unshakably of the present.

Above all, though, what Meyer and Vaillant will continue to bring to the brand is a sense of positivity – referencing our troubling times, they offered a sense of community and typical French joie de vivre as an answer to cynicism and darkness. Optimism is more important than ever today, and their joyful, colourful designs are the perfect embodiment of that.