Meet the newly appointed Courrèges artistic director and designer Yolanda Zobel, who has energised the innovative French fashion house by looking to the past whilst redefining the future house codes. After studying fashion in Berlin, the fashion designer started her career at Giorgio Armani and held former fundamental ‘behind-the-scene’ positions at Acne Studios, Jil Sander, and Chloé. Read on to discover what to expect from the Courrèges debut, as Yolanda Zobel talks to X-Files exclusively.
Can you tell us about your formative design years?
I studied fashion in Berlin. I grew up in Germany in an artistic family that nurtured me with cultural contrasts and a love for beauty, in all its manifestations, from a very young age.
What was the most valuable lesson during that time?
Throughout all my diverse experiences, my driving force has always been a strong will for new, unconventional ways of expressing my vision for the needs and dreams of women of the future.
You’ve talked about men and women wearing the same kind of clothes. How do you describe Courrèges woman in three words?
My idea with my collections is to blur gender, race, ethnicity and age, so I am not talking of a typical Courrèges woman, but more to encourage the feminine in every human kind. Sensual, functional and sensitively real.
What is your design approach; intuitive or measured?
Intuitive, with questioning where the common sense has been lost along the way, with responsible actions, unpretentious thinking. I’d like to operate at Courrèges as a positive catalyst for ideas and solutions.
Does living between Berlin and Paris enhance your creative process?
Yes, cultural differences make you wonder and rethink and be alert and present in everything you do referring to human relationships.
How is it working from the original Courrèges atelier based at Rue François 1er, above the store in Paris?
This place is the historic address of Courrèges since 1965; this is also where our flagship store is based since 1967, it is beautiful energy working here.
I am deeply thrilled, moved and inspired to be given the opportunity to create a new Courrèges! It is a House that has inspired me and entire generations of designers with its anti-conformism, its avant-garde spirit and its irresistible joie de vivre.
The brand is renowned for its futuristic designs and pared-down, geometric shapes. What core aspects of the house archives will be conveyed to the new spirit of the brand?
The Courrèges story built itself around value such as the sporty optimism, the pop energy, the liberating silhouettes and iconic garments, and a true faith in progress. I am connected to that spirit of the House, balanced between loyalty and rebellion.
What design techniques are unique to the brand?
Second skin undergarments, ribbed knitwear, tailored wear and functional wear.
What advice do you have for emerging creatives or design talent?
Never be afraid of veering off the beaten track. Believe in yourself, you are your own ultimate master.
Would you say having a mentor is integral for a designer?
Yes, for every human kind. It’s like the knowledge that is passed from generation to generation. That is nowhere else to be found than through the direct transmission from one person to the other.
How should Australian women who may be new fans, embrace the brand?
As a poppy, optimistic, sensual, functional and tailored wear.
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