Koché: This is your phoenix reborn
One has to hand it to Christelle Kocher, one of the hardest working designers in Paris, and a classically minded creator who manages to create edgy and contemporary clothes that look absolutely right for, well, right now.
Entitled Bird of Paradise, in a riff on the ancient Greek mythological phoenix rising from the ashes in its cyclical renewal, her latest collection for her brand Koché cannily mixed sportswear and French glamour with admirable élan.
“I think the desire for renewal now is very powerful and I wanted to express that in this collection. People rising above adversity,” explained Kocher over coffee in her 20th arrondissement studio, located in a quiet lane in north Paris.
The collection marked her second since signing a long-term license with Only The Brave, the key holding company of Renzo Rossi of Diesel fame. That was clear from the quality of these clothes – from the laser-cut-out cocktails in a modern devoré to the cool perforated leather shirts and jackets, finished on the inside with athletic tape.
Kocher has always been clever about incorporating street and sport into more sophisticated fashion. This season, she whipped up a series of cut-out dance tops and sliced up sweatshirts, some finished with cock feathers; mixed in with Photoshop zebra-print party dresses. Kocher, who in previous seasons referenced Paris Saint-Germain in multiple high-fashion soccer looks, this time even made a great leather blouson in the stitched pattern of a classic football.
The designer incorporated the phoenix in several dashing turquoise and violet prints seen in matelassé jackets and jeans. Kocher also tapped into Rossi’s roots as the man who more or less invented high-price distressed denim, with some great burgundy-hued denim pants and tops made with a remarkable velour hand.
“Renzo has been great to work with. He really respects designers. And his group has some very talented creators, from John Galliano to Viktor & Rolf, to mention just two. It’s been a great experience working with him in Italy. The quality is great, and it allows us to fully concentrate on creation,” explains Kocher, who met Rossi after winning the prestigious ANDAM award, on whose board the Italian sits.
All shot with tremendous gusto in Kocher’s video, deep inside the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, the famed North Paris avant-garde theatre, seen in the opening scene of Jean-Jacques Beineix’s 1981 film Diva.
“It is still as wrecked and distressed as ever,” smiles Kocher, whose cast all dashed about the delightfully bashed up old theatre. Her seductive French ladies in off-the-shoulder cocktails cut with manifest aplomb.
Several small one-foot-high mannequins inside Kocher’s studio bearing early prototypes of these cocktails further attesting to her skill as a draper.
In a word, Bird of Paradise is the latest instalment from a classically trained designer with her fingers on an edgier pulse.
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