Bobbins: Label Love- Courrèges

When I was a teenager in the 1980's there was a resurgence in 1960's mod style. French designer, Courrèges quickly became one of my favorites, and still is to this day! He defined an era, broke molds, and his designs are instantly recognizable. 

Famous Eskimo sunglasses

Famous Eskimo sunglasses

History

André Courrèges was born in the Basque country of France. Before pursuing fashion he studied engineering. From 1950-1961 he worked for Balenciaga. Balenciaga was a designer who despite having conservatively wealthy customers was ahead of the times in design. He often fused architecture style into his designs and was a master of innovation in draping. André learned so much from working in the Balenciaga atelier before striking out on his own. 

In the early 1960's when he started his own label, a "youthquake" erupted in fashion. London was the epicenter of a new style that glorified youth culture with the likes of Mary Quant, Twiggy, and scooter culture (think Quadrophenia). This sent shock waves to the couture houses in Paris. André embraced it. With his disciplined training he was able to take this trend and combine it with the high fashion elements Paris was known for. Along with Mary Quant, he is known for the mini-skirt and the fashion revolution that caused. 

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In 1964, Courrèges debuted his Space Age Collection. It was a huge success and Vogue named him designer of the year. It is through this collection that Courrèges defined his approach to fashion. Minimalism, geometric clean lines, cut outs, technologically advanced fabrics, vivid colors such as pink, orange, green, white, and silver, goggle like sunglasses, helmets, and his famous white boots became what he was known for. His designer peers, Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin were heavily influenced and followed in the futuristic look. Quick to be copied by manufacturers, Courrèges registered many of designs. 

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Because of his ability to mesh intellect and a strong design ethic, with youth style he dressed many famous clients from Jackie Kennedy and her sister Lee Radziwill, the Duchess of Windsor, Aubrey Hepburn, and Catherine Deneuve among many. 

Catherine Deneuve in Courrèges

Catherine Deneuve in Courrèges

Riding on his success, Courrèges came up with other lines to expand his design empire. In 1967 he launched Prototype; a made to order custom direction. At the end of the 60's Couture Future brought him into the 1970s with high end ready to wear. A fragrance called Emrpeinte and a menswear ready to wear line came out in 1973. In the 1980's Hyperbole reached more customers with a lower priced line and in 1985 he sold his company to a Japanese firm. Courrèges is still made today with a focus on his key elements from the 1960's. Andre passed away last year. He will always be known for the modernization of fashion in the 1960's and beyond. For pushing boundaries but also keeping the traditions of the couture houses. A wonderful mix that is still relevant today. 

Courrèges with models in his designs

Courrèges with models in his designs

Trademarks

The famous logo

The famous logo

  • Clean lines
  • Well tailored double breasted coats
  • Visible logo
  • Contrasting trim
  • Sleeveless or short sleeved mini-dresses
  • Welt seaming
  • Hipster pants
  • Vivid colors; pink, orange, green, white, silver
  • Cut-outs
  • Daisies
  • Helmets
  • Sunglasses
  • Flat boots
  • Futuristic fabrics and clear vinyl
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Fab right? What is your favorite look? Your favorite 1960's designer? Leave your comments below, I'd love to hear from you. Be sure to visit my shop for vintage Courrèges pieces, and more! 

 

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xo,

Karen 

Lingerie By Decade- 1960's

The 1960's is an interesting decade. It has a lot of personalities. In this month's Fashion History installment we are continuing with our Lingerie By Decade mini-series and have landed on a pivotal decade that will leap us into a look that is more familiar to our own everyday underpinnings. Let's have a look! (If you need to catch up click here.)

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I always think of the 1960's as having two halves. The first half is part of the Classic Era- which runs from about 1955-1965. I love this era in fashion and hone in on that time frame when I am vintage hunting. It is classic- still stylish today! In the second half of the 1960's, the political landscape changes. It is a time of change, for change and with those changes a change in fashion bubbles up. (Can I say change one more time?) Youth culture is in, hemlines rise, and as always undergarments need to reflect what is worn over them. 

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Bras in the 1960s are still pointy as they were in the 1950's. Not as exaggerated, but the shaping is still important. Slips are still worn and girdle like pettipants are popular replacing the lace-up type corset or merry-widows. 

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Options. And options that match! Nylon is the fabric of choice and comes in an array of colors. Stretch fabrics, like spandex, are more common and give lingerie less rigidity like these girl's mothers and grandmothers wore in the 1940s. Panties are also becoming more and more popular. Briefs like the girl in the back is holding up come up to the waist. Towards the end of the decade, that waist-line will drop and hip huggers will be in style. 

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Later 60's. The ads are trying to appeal to those that want briefs (lady in front) and a hip-hugger (lady in back) option. While adding in a flower child vibe. 

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I have to include this because The Graduate is one of my favorite films. It's full of fashion inspiration and includes some great lingerie looks. It also shows us that prints are now available and leopard may be one of the finest! 

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Nightgowns and peignoir sets are still common. In the 1960's they become a bit brighter and more frilly then their predecessors.

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Named after the 1956 film, Baby Doll, the baby doll continues on in popularity in the 1960's. It takes on an even more innocent youthful look as manufacturers appeal to youth culture.

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One of the biggest advancements in undergarments in the 1960s is the invention of pantyhose or tights. Seams are no longer required in hosiery as they can now be made "in the round" and garter belts are no longer needed! This is revolutionary, signals freedom, and means shorter skirts can be worn! 

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Raquel Welch pictured above in textured and crochet tights which become popular. 

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Youth MOD culture, mini skirts, Mary Quant, Twiggy....colored tights are everywhere. They even put Twiggy on the package! 

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There is a lot happening in the 1960s and it's reflected in its fashion. Misogynistic (like the one above) ads run alongside women's empowerment (one below) ads as the industry tries to keep up with the changes that are happening in this decade. Are men buying the lingerie or are women? Who is their customer? The Classic era lady still wearing garter belts or the young adult that wishes she was in Swinging London? 

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Stay tuned for next month's installment. The 1970's! How will the changes in the 1960's affect the next decade? How will that change our undergarments? 

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Cheers,

Karen