Paris Fashion Week Fall 2021 kicked off on March 1 and will run until March 10. Even though the shows were a little different this year due to COVID-19, there were, as always, amazing collections showcased. Thankfully, designers were able to adjust their usual shows in creative ways. There were some shows with small, socially distanced audiences, but the majority of shows were primarily viewed in digital formats. Many designers chose rather nontraditional locations for their shows which created unique and engaging experiences. Many were even pre-recorded. One of the best uses of this alternative showing experience was from Courrèges.
The Courrèges show took place in a white cube built at La Station — Gare des Mines in Aubervilliers, a hub for dancing and partying in Paris. This environment created an interesting comparison between a very modern background with outfits that plucked elements from multiple time periods: from the ’60s, to the ’90s, to modern-day street style. At the end of the show, the cameras panned up to show people on top of and climbing up the white box. This was a great example of a fashion show taking advantage of the COVID-19 restrictions and using them to create an incredibly dynamic show.
This show was Nicolas Di Felice’s debut with Courrèges, and despite the challenging circumstances surrounding the show, Di Felice succeeded in adding a modern twist to the fun, disco-vibe silhouettes of the iconic Space Age collection by André Courrèges. The show was titled “I Can Feel Your Heartbeat,” and it was an amazing first show for Di Felice that showed he could revitalize the famous Parisian fashion house. Many of the 2021 looks featured modern accessories like baseball hats but also included elements like dark sunglasses and tight, over-the-knee boots that were reminiscent of the 1960s when Courrèges’ Space Age collection was released. Other elements of the Space Age collection and André Courrèges’s designs are seen in the fashion house’s use of check patterns, cut-out designs, A-line constructions and vinyl.
The vinyl is especially emblematic of the juxtaposition of modern elements with Courrèges’ Space Age designs because, while it is a staple of the brand, it was re-designed to be more eco-friendly. The vinyl used in the 2021 collection was made from an organic cotton base and a bio-based polyurethane.
The show began with very refined looks with structured silhouettes that walked the line between professional and chic streetwear. One particularly elegant look was Look 10, a head-to-toe red number with a boat neckline, trapeze dress and matching thigh-high boots. This monochromatic style was a motif of the entire show with many looks featuring matching dresses and high boots. The looks at the beginning of the show were all very refined and elegant. They looked like clothes a modern Jackie Kennedy Onassis would wear, which is no surprise considering she was a fan of André Courrèges.
The show then shifted to edgier looks with lots of dark tones and leather. The best look from this portion of the show was Look 25, a coordinating black leather skirt and jacket, with black curly fur detailing on the neck and sleeve cuffs. This was set off by the knit bootleg pants that were worn under the skirt.
Other looks in this portion of the show highlighted cutout designs that were seen in the brand’s designs from the 1960s. The best look that featured this cutout design was Look 19, which featured a structured, business-like navy skirt. This was contrasted by a skimpy bodysuit that featured a large cutout in the front with only a thin clasp holding it together. For accessories, the model wore a black baseball cap, large navy wire earrings, nearly hip-high black knit boots and a small purse. This look succeeded because it combined structured, professional elements in the skirt with a very bold bodysuit.
Overall, this show was fantastic. I genuinely wish I could wear every single outfit that walked the runway. The looks seamlessly combined nostalgic elements of the ’60s — typical of the brand — with elements of the ’90s during which Di Felice grew up and modern elements that brought the looks into 2021.
In an interview with Vogue, Di Felice discussed how he wants his designs for Courrèges to be timeless.
“I see so many people in Courrèges pieces that were their mother’s or grandmother’s; you never throw them away and I think this is the best way to be eco-conscious,” he said. This goal of creating designs that do not come in and out of style depending on external trends is exemplified by this Fall 2021 collection; these outfits would have fit in during the ’60s as much as they do today.