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Nicolas Di Felice took the fashion crowd into the woods for his first runway show with an audience since taking over as artistic director of Courrèges.
“It’s a really special place for me,” he said of the Bois de Vincennes, where guests including billionaire François Pinault and his son François-Henri, the owners of the brand, gathered around a white square painted on a patch of grass. Di Felice likes to party in the forest east of Paris, and fell in love with his boyfriend there.
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Attendants handed out rain capes, but the weather gods were smiling, and the skies cleared just in time for the show. As a throbbing soundtrack disrupted the pastoral idyll, models strode out in oversize capes, including a silver version that gleamed in the sunlight.
But the big story this season was the Loop. Inspired by a ready-to-wear dress from 1976, the crossed neckline appeared on everything from vinyl bra tops to dresses, T-shirts and the house’s new handbag.
“I used it because it’s the first piece that I bought from Courrèges five years ago on eBay,” said Di Felice. He scored a turquoise version, and revived the color on a vinyl dress paired with ribbed leggings that pooled over the feet.
The designer, who recently celebrated his first anniversary at the house, has quickly gained a following for his precise, minimal reinterpretations of the Space Age creations of founder André Courrèges. Meanwhile, the label has been swept up in the vintage craze on TikTok.
Di Felice said that while reactions to his virtual runway debut last season were mainly positive, a few people had questioned whether his designs were too simple. “And then for the first two days I was a bit stressed, and at the end of the day, I was like, OK, I’m going to try to do something even more simple,” he said.
His response? Three wrap dresses, each made from a single piece of fabric and shaped with darts. You might feel confident, too, if your supporters included Marc Jacobs, who has made Courrèges sweaters and vinyl jackets his unofficial uniform of late.
Di Felice is thrilled, of course — but was even more excited to see two girls wearing his designs at his favorite bar. After all, Courrèges himself made his clothes not for astronauts, but for regular people.
“I remember this Belgian documentary where he clearly said, ‘I really want my clothes to be in the street,’” Di Felice recalled. “Having just a bit of this feeling after one year, it makes me just really happy.”
Launch Gallery: Courrèges RTW Spring 2022