Koché’s perfect marriage between couture and streetwear is a match made in fashion heaven.
After the last showing which was more street and less elevated, Christelle Kocher doubled down this season and brought her couture cred to bear. The sumptuous Shangri-La palace was the perfect setting for this more delicate and refined outing. The artistic director of Maison Lemairié titled this collection “Magic Hands” in honor of the incredible craft behind the pieces as she believes that “the work of the hand is what makes a garment exceptional: the irreplaceable human touch that gives the magic.” When I asked her about her inspiration for this season, she said:
“First of all, I wanted to show emotion, a certain idea of simplicity, authenticity and poetry. It was like going back to the roots and to the artisanal, to the culture, looking to techniques from the past but presenting something really contemporary, anchored in our time and looking towards the future. It was also the grand moment of celebration of beauty.”
It was indeed beautiful, the color palette of delicate pastels, blush pink, aquamarine, yellow created a soft luminosity enhanced by crystal embroidery and feather flourishes. The collection sought to define Koché’s “New Classic” aesthetics, inspired by the silhouette of the glamorous 1930s, and seamlessly applying it to the way people dress in real life today. Streetwear tropes like basketball shorts and jerseys, hoodies and jeans got a luxe makeover with overlays of silk organza over athletic performance fabric or a complete sequin treatment. They also developed a unique way of bomb spray painting the garments to reveal lace graphics or the KOCHÉ monogram. The looks become elevated through the quality materials and artisanal techniques, giving the fusion an organic look and feel.
There were also on-trend items that have been showing up in many collections this season, like knitwear and poof slippers (which I first clocked at Altuzarra’s FW20 show). It probably speaks to us as most of us spent the last year at home, so we want the comfort but with a flash of luxury.
Curiously enough, although Koché started the streetcasting trend and the brand DNA is rooted in diversity and inclusivity across gender, social and geographical origins, body types and genres of clothing, the one thing missing on the runway was body diversity, which has often been the case this season. That said, they did unveil their exciting new collaboration with Tinder, which is a gender neutral collection as a third of 18-25 year olds apparently feel like they don’t fit the gender norms and are looking for more fluidity in fashion and dating. Tinder will donate its share of the proceeds from the see now-buy now capsule to ModaFusion’s Casa93, a fashion school which is helping new young talent from diverse backgrounds enter the fashion industry. Kocher, who comes from a working class family and whose fashion path has not been without obstacle, is invested in this cause and oversees the end of year fashion show there.
The show notes conclude with a Virginia Woolf quote that encapsulates what all of us had to ask ourselves the last year, and what Koché’s presentation beautifully answered:
“How can we combine the old words in new orders so that they survive, so that they create beauty, so that they tell the truth? That is the question.” _