COURREGÈS FALL 2021

Di Felice’s confident launch is a showcase for both his understanding of André Courrèges’s Space Age legacy and his own cutting chops.

By Balthazar Malevolent

COURREGÈS FALL 2021

Nicolas Di Felice had his Courrèges debut today. It’s a challenging moment to make an entrance. Lockdowns mean there was no chance for a live audience, no possibility to meet the newcomer in his studio beforehand or in the usual scrum backstage. Bigger picture, the pandemic has designers better known than Di Felice asking existential questions about what women want and what fashion’s role is in a world confronting climate change.

The fact that Di Felice took all this in stride speaks to his experience. The 37-year-old Belgian is a graduate of La Cambre in Brussels, and he’s worked in Paris for a dozen years with Nicolas Ghesquière at both Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton, and Raf Simons at Christian Dior. A behind-the-scenes guy until now, Di Felice has a knack for research and a command of technique, two things necessary to take charge of a heritage brand whose hallmark, as he describes it, is “radical simplicity.” He says he arrived at Courrèges with armfuls of files and started fittings on day one.

Di Felice’s confident launch is a showcase for both his understanding of André Courrèges’s Space Age legacy and his own cutting chops. A white trapeze dress is modeled on a Courrèges original but with a stretch jersey bodice; the archive piece was heavy and stiff with armholes so small they barely allowed for movement at all. Vinyl, a house signature for decades, has been redesigned to be more eco-friendly with bio-based polyurethane and a certified organic cotton base; the high-collared coat he used it for has a powerful, streamlined fit. Courrèges’s ’60s futurism has been filtered through Di Felice’s child-of-the-’90s eyes.

The show was staged in a white cube built at La Station Gare des Mines, an 18th arrondissement train station turned cultural hub that Di Felice frequents. As the models took their finale lap, a camera panned up and up to reveal grimpeurs posed on top of the box and climbing up its sides. The drone shot was a cool visual metaphor for the job at hand. Reviving a 60-year-old brand in a busy world is a big task, but Di Felice has a good foundation.

Courreges

In other news, Rick Owens Fall 2021 Men's. “I’m always conscious of my own aggression. And the older that I get, I feel like I should have reached a level of serenity that I just haven’t; I get impatient, I get itchy, I snap at people sometimes… Aggression is something that I’m fascinated with because I’m constantly conscious of wrestling with it, personally. And I think that that’s true of every man.”

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