Nicolas di Felice discussed what sparked his latest Courrèges collection: it was the discovery, after much Googling, of a circa 1973 brand video set not in a Paris salon but in a car junkyard. Di Felice liked it for the way it challenges assumptions about Courrèges. Yes, the house founder André Courrèges was a couturier, but he was also plugged into the street. Di Felice is negotiating that divide quite fluently a little more than a year into his run at the brand. The first step was hooking a young Paris crowd on his minimal, sexy basics. These nod back to Courrèges’s Space Age stylings without being overt; it’s helped that di Felice’s arrival here coincided with the return of mini lengths. You see those minis on showgoers this season, along with his updates to the snap-front vinyl jackets that are another brand signature. Mission completed as for Courrèges’ commercial thriving. Now, having caught the industry’s attention, di Felice is playing with more experimental shapes – and here it gets a bit more difficult and demanding. There was a strapless shift dress made from two circles sewn together and a couple of others whose backs were large fake leather squares spray painted to conjure the vibes of that 1973 junkyard – body-con bi-stretch jersey in front, avant-garde in back. Jackets and coats exhibited the same inventiveness. In addition to circles and squares, he made some with large triangular sleeves, including a vinyl puffer whose proportions looked new. These were experimental cuts, but not complicated, he made a point of clarifying. “I really have an obsession with simple patterns, they start from geometric shapes.” Back to the body-con – Di Felice reproduced the geometries of John Coplans’s paintings on shiny vinyl dresses as streamlined as those triangular-sleeved coats were voluminous. The diamond-shaped cut-outs that climb up their sides could become as recognizable as the house’s curvy AC monogram. Di Felice has got the brand-building aspect of the modern creative director’s duties down and now he’s trying to make the brand not just merch, but actual fashion.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.