I was sorry to hear this morning that Courrège passed away yesterday, he was a major influence in fashion, and is to this day, but he started off as an engineer which attributed to his design thinking as a futurist.
‘Fashion designers tend to find their greatest inspiration in eras past, but André Courrèges had his feet firmly planted towards the future. The designer, who passed away yesterday at age 92 after battling Parkinson’s disease, preferred to bypass the archives and put his energy into innovative space-inspired looks. A former engineer, he had a lifelong fascination with science and technology, and called his studio his “secret laboratory.” He even went so far as to design a bubble-shaped electric car called La Bulle — back in 1969, long before Tesla came on the scene. Later on, he turned his design energies to Hitachi robots, Honda motor scooters and Minolta cameras. “Sometimes a dress isn’t able to communicate all the emotions that I wish to convey,” he said.
Born in Pau, a city in southwest France, Courrèges began studying civil engineering before switching to fashion. He worked under Cristóbal Balenciaga for a decade before starting his namesake line in 1961 (with a fiscal assist from Balenciaga himself). The press wasn’t always sure how to take his message, especially in the era of incipient women’s lib. Some found it infantilizing, with the AP saying, “[H]e stops just short of diapers in giving age-conscious American women the youngest collection of clothes ever cut in adult sizes.” But women caught on faster than the critics did, and soon enough, everyone from Catherine Deneuve to Nancy Reagan could be seen in his designs. Audrey Hepburn sported one of his signature “little white dresses” while playing a kooky heiress in How to Steal a Million.’
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