Andre Courreges with Models by Peter Knapp, 1960.
André Courrèges, "the father of Space Age fashion" worn by the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Hardy, died Thursday, January 7 after a 30-year battle with Parkinson's, WWD reports. He was 92.
Courrèges was born in the south of France in Pau in 1923. He studied to be a civil engineer but moved to Paris at 22, where he began working for Jeanne Lafaurie. He soon joined Balenciaga, where he worked for 10 years until opening his namesake house with his wife, Coqueline Barrière, in 1961.
For Spring 1964, Courrèges showed a landmark collection featuring short A-line skirts, cutout dresses and flat "go-go boots." Everything was stark white, with accents of silver and primary and fluorescent colors. This vision of the future was, in a word, revolutionary. "In the 1960s, the French had no youth culture the way the English and Americans did—no Beatles, no Rolling Stones," Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, told WWD. "Courrèges used the idea of futurism as a metaphor for youth—all his moon girl outfits, silver trousers, etc. That was really pivotal."
In addition to the go-go boots, Courrèges is credited, along with Mary Quant, with creating the miniskirt. He was also one of the first designers to use plastic and PVC in fashion, as well as one of the first couturiers to embrace ready-to-wear: "I feel there is a very strong mood in the air," he said. "Women want to wear casual, sporty clothes by day." In 1966, he spoke of couture's failure: "A woman to drive her car must pull up her skirt. We have failed her in designing her clothes. There are occasions where pants are the thing to wear. They are more elegant on those occasions than any dress. Look at a man's suit. How much more logical, realistic and contemporary than women's clothes."
Courrèges shuttered his couture line in 1985 and retired in 1995. In September 2015, the brand showed its first runway show in 13 years in Paris, under new creative directors Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant.
Courrèges is survived by his wife and a daughter, Marie.