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André Courrèges rejected the typical 1950s silhouette of boned bodices, wasp waist, and stiletto high heels, finding these constraining styles impractical for the needs of the modern woman. Consequently, He opened his own house in 1961 with his wife, Coqueline, who had worked with him at the House of Balenciaga. Together, they cut, sewed, and presented their first collection in their apartment in Paris.

Having studied engineering before becoming interested in fashion design, Courrèges used his expert tailoring skills learned under the tutelage of Balenciaga to create modern, architectural forms. His fundamental belief was that form must follow function, a concept that informed all his designs. Like Coco Chanel, Courrèges recognized the far-reaching possibilities of incorporating elements of the practical and logical elements of menswear into women’s dress. Unadorned minimalism and streamlining characterized Courrèges’s work, and the only embellishment in his clothing was directly related to the construction.

Courrèges’s innovations, which were widely plagiarized, included squared-off, knee-length dresses, tunics worn over narrow pants with flared legs, and accessories such as futuristic helmets and flat-heeled short boots. He was known as the "space-age couturier."

Characteristic of Courrèges’s designs, this coat is constructed of heavy wool that holds a sculptural shape. Every edge is top-stitched, a technique that stiffens the fabric and emphasizes the lines of the garment. Courrèges balanced the rectangular shape with round corners and patch pockets set at an angle. He embellished the coat with functional silver buttons and a matching silver leather belt.

Details

  • Title: Coat and Belt
  • Creator: André Courrèges (French, b.1923)
  • Date Created: Circa 1967
  • Location: France
  • Credit Line: Museum Purchase: Gift of the Friends of Fashion
  • Accession Number: 2004.145a-b
  • Type: Costume and Accessory
  • Medium: Wool, leather, metal

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