French Designer André Courrèges dies at 92

André Courrèges, one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century, has died at 92.

The fashion innovator died after a three-decade battle with Parkinson’s Disease, a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement.

Courrèges carried the reigns for changing the way women dressed in the 1960s; creating go-go boots and mini-skirts, some of the 60s biggest fashion highlights that have made a comeback today.

Born on March 9, 1923, André Courrèges studied engineering early in his life before switching to fashion textiles. The French fashion designer spent a decade at Balenciaga, the European fashion house founded by Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, before launching his own fashion house in 1961 with the help of his wife and business partner, Coqueline Courrèges.

André Courrèges played a big role in transforming women’s pants into haute couture pieces, and in popularizing the miniskirt alongside British designer, Mary Quant.

André Courrèges haute couture designs.Google
André Courrèges haute couture designs.

Unlike most fashion at the time, Courrèges’ clothing had an ultra modern vibe. His “space-age” or “moon girl” collections were his trademark, along with the colors white and silver; his signature style included rigidly constructed clothes with sharp lines and trapezoidal shapes.

“To make something that is true to life — that is what work is all about,” the designer said in 1963. “I don’t care if I stay small or grow large, make money or not. That doesn’t matter. What matters is the truth; to create a true thing.”

The master of Mod, in every collection, pushed the boundaries of “clothed” and “naked.”

In 1967, Courrèges began to experiment with transparency, making minidresses and jumpsuits in see-through organza ornamented with judiciously placed vinyl or sequined flowers and circles.

Throughout his life the designer pushed the boundaries of conservative dress that took place just a decade before, and entered the fashion world with a bang of transparency and ultra modern looks.

André Courrèges designs, 1968Google
André Courrèges designs, 1968

Like many creative types, André Courrèges was shy and quiet, seeing himself as an artist above a businessman. Courrèges even took up painting after his time as a courier.

“If my subject happens to be a woman, maybe I’d make her a dress,” he once noted. “But sometimes a dress isn’t able to communicate all the emotions that I wish to convey. So I try to express my ideas through other mediums.”

On January 7, 2016, Courrèges died from his three-decade battle with Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his wife and their daughter.

 

Shonette Reed

Fashion Writer

Shonette Reed is a Los Angeles based blogger and journalist with a journalism and integrated Media degree from Biola University. She has worked in the fashion industry as a freelance writer for ForHarriet.com and a public relations intern for Liberate Apparel. Her main goal in the fashion industry is to continue to bring more women of color to the media, showing that the fashion industry has diversity worth celebrating.