The Fashion Folk S01 ep9 : Coqueline Courreges, Courreges Fashion, [Paris]
Interview with Coqueline Courreges
My husband Henri Courreges was working 11 years at Balenciaga. One day he decided it was time to branch out. He made an analysis of the world of Haute Couture from 1955 to 1960 and proposed to Balenciaga a change of vision for the whole of couture. Couture needed to evolve . At this time Balenciaga did not really understand these ideas because they were very new, and it was a new generation so he gave Henri the permission to go and explore his ideas on his own.
KM – What is Courreges?
We are a house for couturier and even though we think what we make is worn
on the outside, what is really important is how it affects the inside.
KM – Where did it come from, when did it start? You husband started this
We started together in 1950 at the same place. We went to see a great
master but didn’t realize we were thinking in the same way.
KM – When were you with Balenciaga the master?
My husband Henri Courrege was working 11 years at Balenciaga. One day he
decided it was time to branch out. He made an analysis of the world of Haute
Courtier from 1955 to 1960 and proposed to Balenciaga a change of vision for
the whole of couture.
Couture needed to evolve. At this time Balenciaga did not really understand
these ideas because they were very new, and it was a new generation so he
gave Henri the permission to go and explore his ideas on his own. This was
when Henri decided to build his own company and Balenciaga replaced him
with Emanuel Ungaro.
KM – What was different about what Henri Courrege was proposing that was
different to what was being done at the time?
It was all about what women were thinking at this time and what they were
going through. The concept of Haute couture was evolving even though
Balenciaga was still dressing the women of his world, the world of the Grande
Dames, with very classically inspired garments.
Haute Couture had to change with the times. It was a time when women
started to work, started to drive cars, to have jobs, their role in society was
changing. So this was the time to translate their fashion but with elegance.
KM – Was this the beginning of Haute Couture?
Henri came up with the term "Couture Future". Couture Future is a word that
means that there really is an evolution in clothing and it is progressive. You
can’t have the same viewpoint on fashion. It needs to follow the evolution of
KM – How do you design your clothes?
When you are a designer, you think with you mind and your feelings - there is
no stopping, there is always evolution and you are influenced by what is
happening around you and therefore your collections are continually evolving.
KM – Why are you doing this?
It just has to come out. You need to express what is inside, but you borrow
from your past, which is the past of an artist.
KM – With what you know about this business; how difficult it is, how much
you have to put in – the energy, the heart; would you have chosen fashion
It’s not only the world of fashion that you work in. The real world is the world of
the human. We are touched by many things and influenced by architecture,
cars, sports and so on. Our real role is to take care of the human and to bring
them answers on every subject.
You have to continually move forward and anticipate and make provision for
the future to continually go forward. As a designer you just can’t keep looking
back and borrow from history. The real subject is the human condition.
KM – Do you need to have people around you to absorb new ideas or do you
work as an individual in your own little world?
At my age it is a time when you can work as an individual, but also a time to
pass on knowledge to young people who accept it and want it.
KM – Why fashion? Why not driving a bus? Why not prima ballerina?
We were also bus drivers, and went to Japan with five buses. Being a
Ballerina was a dream but when I was younger I had an accident so I could not
dance but it is really important for me to make other people dance. Dance with
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Coqueline Courreges, Courreges Fashion, Paris