The space-age designs draw a few historical parallels with 2021.
Between the sustainable and individuality-promoting appeal of vintage to Gen Z and the way TikTok has added an incendiary flair to that growth curve, it's not uncommon for designers of a previous era to take off seemingly overnight on the aforementioned social media platform. Gen Z has made a habit of plucking items—in the case that they align with the aesthetic trends of the moment—out of the context of their historical place in the fashion timeline and mixing them into their current style. Recently, Courrèges has been sucked into the vortex of TikTok trends, but in this case, its popularity is not so unfounded.
Reply to @noausterity why it took 3 years to find my dream jacket #storytime #vintage #courreges #modfashion
"Let me give you the context for Courrèges," begins Shawn Grain Carter, associate professor in the fashion business management department at FIT. "They were the ones who came out with fantastic airline wear for what we used to call stewardesses or the flight attendant. They had to dress a certain way." At the same time, "we had just landed the first person on the moon. The Apollo mission influenced Courrèges in a big, big way." Andre Courrèges launched his first collection in 1965. The first man subsequently walked on the moon in 1969.
Dubbed the designer of space-age style, Courrèges was and is known for his mod approach to design. The former engineer and all-around technology enthusiast favored oversized sunglasses, A-line mini skirts, go-go boots, clingy unitards, and more that wooed the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Nancy Reagan, Françoise Hardy, and Catherine Deneuve. The fabrications sparkled and shined, cut from otherworldly materials like PVC and plastic. "Whether you were flying in an airplane or in a rocket, it influenced how Courrèges designed his line. If you've ever seen the cartoon The Jetsons, it looked like something right out of that show."
"Well, guess what? Who has SpaceX? And who just went to space? Bezos. So, of course Courrèges is now back as an influential couturier." Aside from the mod designer's revival of micro minis and PVC jackets, fashion in general is witnessing a resurgence in retro futurism reflected in collections from designers like Marine Serre, Paco Rabbane, and Rick Owens—all of which is apparently tied to current events. "You may not know that [Courrèges] was inspired by the Apollo mission, but you know about Tesla, you know about Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the two billionaires who are competing to leave the planet to go up into space. So your generation is saying, 'Hmm, Courrèges looks really cool.' You don't realize you're being influenced by what's happening in the greater conversation of not just popular culture, but politics."
History repeats itself. Fashion is cyclical. As berets signified liberation amidst the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille, space-age fashion seems to not only signify progression and advancement, but a sort of connection to elements spinning on a completely different axis. But regardless of whether you're intrigued by the history of Courrèges and retro futurism or you simply dig its aesthetic manifestations, we've rounded up 15 corresponding vintage pieces for you to don in modern day.
Shop the Story:
Top photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@courreges_bonjour
Want more stories like this?