Keeping the flag flying for fashion companies founded in the youthquake of the Sixties and early Seventies has become a constant issue. But the two houses of the late Andre Courrèges and Japanese-born Kenzo Takada have found ways to reignite the spirit by picking the right people.
Courrèges: Modernism, futurism and simplicity
"We consider ourselves as industrial or object designers," was the mantra of Sebastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant as they gave a dual interpretation of their fashion, while presenting the collection and the people behind it on a big screen.
"We are 27, born with the internet and have social media in our blood," said Arnaud Vaillant as he and his creative partner talked "optimism" while standing in the Courrèges sale room that contained the clothes themselves on rails.
The screens were filled with ever-changing videos of stylists, models and people involved in the creation of a modern image for a house that had focused on the future from its inception.
For Autumn/Winter 2017, Courrèges had picked four key pieces: jackets, mini skirts, knits and dresses. This was no revolution for the modernising of the house, for the designers had previously shown those wardrobe choices on stage. But it was interesting to see them up close, along with the famous Courrèges boots, and to understand how they really could be mixed and matched, to use a trite phrase.
But this time there seemed to be more variety than just a collection of A-line mini skirts and and stretch trousers - although those pieces were on offer with variations in fabrics. Added to those basics were hand-created specials, like the black bomber jacket interlaced with white decoration. There was also a focus on coats, from a duffel to a classic raincoat - made less so by playing with flaps of different lengths at the front.
Take any piece individually and it worked on its own, as well as fitting neatly with other offerings - a wardrobe that moved around slotting into different places, as if in an online game. Andre Courrèges, so eager to reflect the modernity of the moon landing, would surely have approved.
Kenzo: The Memento collection
As Humberto Leon and Carol Lim took their joint bow in brightly patterned clothes, Kenzo Takada, who had been watching the show, said that he had recognised so many things that reflected his 30 years at the helm - especially the prints.
The event was held not in the futuristic, digitalised surroundings of the duo's former collections, but at the Kenzo premises, converted into a "restaurant", where the models strolled between the tables. And if it all seemed nostalgic rather than futuristic then that was the general idea. The show was named "Collection Memento No. 1".
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"As soon as we saw the floral prints, we knew that they would become the starting block for the rest of the pieces," said Carol and Humberto, who had been inspired by an advertising campaign by photographer Hans Feurer in the Eighties.
But that was not the only source of ideas. Prints of lions and elephants from the Seventies were also folded into the new millennial look 40 years on. And, according to the designers, a wool beret from 1971 inspired the women's tailoring - although they did not explain how they switched from hats to coats.
The overall effect was nostalgic, often charming, but not so easy to grasp as the foundation of this new century's Kenzo style. It felt like an opportunity for the designers to regroup their thoughts and decide how the past could influence the future. The result of the conjunction of old and new will no doubt be seen in next season's show.