Reinventing the catwalk show: this is not just a recurrent idea, but a firm obsession among many designers. After all, capturing the attention of people, and therefore of consumers, has become a rather arduous thing to do, so nowadays you get celebrities on the front row, social media influencers on the runways and shows organised in the most outlandish locations, from abandoned theatres, modern art galleries and museums to industrial spaces, restaurants and stadiums.
Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant (previously of design duo Coperni Femme) at André Courrèges opted instead for a talk and an intimate yet futuristic presentation yesterday morning in Paris at the house's Eighth Arrondissement headquarters.
Standing in front of a video screen they explained the beliefs and ideas behind the collection, their passion for new means of communication (and for screens), but also their search for physicality and reality, basic human needs.
Moving away from the runway they therefore restructured the collection into four carefully edited sections - jackets, miniskirts, knits and architectural dresses - and three values or key words - optimism, smart design and dialogue.
Then they asked models, stylists, friends and consultants to pick a piece from the collection and style it as they liked with their own clothes. The results, photographed by Reto Schmid, were unusual yet instant hits: Courrèges's trademark cropped jackets were matched with casual T-shirts and ostrich-skin pants; vinyl miniskirts and apron mini-dresses were worn with vintage T-shirts and old Chuck Taylors.
Mini-dresses covered in visible zippers tracing sinuous lines on the fabrics were styled with an ordinary gray hoodie or a simple grocery net bag. Running shoes seemed to be the choice for many models, almost to emphasise Courrèges' dynamism infused in his shifts and second-skin knits.
Outerwear was the best category of the next Autumn/Winter offer: it included classic white or black coats and jackets with small silver buttons (styles taken from the archive) and more casual pieces in a neoprene-like material that the designers dubbed vinyl mousse.
The designs seemed to go pretty well with the garments from the models' own wardrobes, proving therefore to consumers that remixing is not just possible, but imperative.
The spaces where the pictures were taken - the maison's factory and headquarters, a location that the design duo have been reusing for a while for their shoots - contributed to the idea of normality and everyday wear. As models posed next to sewing machines, rolls of fabrics or shelves with office folders, they proved you can wear futurism from 1967 in 2017 without creating embarrassing anachronisms, but maybe with the sense of optimism that surrounded the first space trips.
In conclusion, there were versatile products here rather than just a collection, and this may be the most futuristic aspect of the modern Courrèges offer: concisely edited iconic items that prove that, quite often, if a design still works, you can still relaunch it. In a nutshell, if it ain't broke, you don't really need to fix it.