Courrèges, the exceptional revival of an iconic Parisian fashion brand
In an exclusive interview to CPP-LUXURY.COM, Jacques Bungert, the owner of the French iconic luxury fashion house of Courrèges has shared his vision on the successful revival of the maison, as well as plans for the future, including a men’s capsule collection, expand retail and one day… build electric cars.
With the new ownership, the house of Courreges has seen a major revival in the past 2 years. What was your primary motivation to invest in the brand and what is your vision for the future of the brand?
First of all it is the result of a great and miraculous encounter between André, Coqueline, Fred and I.
It is unique today to find a great patrimonial brand with 50 years of history, a brand that is synonymous of a major fashion revolution with a great global awareness (assisted today…) with the “flexibility” and potential of a start-up ; with the ability to express itself in many fields, not only fashion but also design. Courrèges has solid basis that allow fantastic creative expressions in the future.
Courreges is recognized as a quintessential French fashion brand. What makes Courreges ‘so French’?
Courrèges is part of the French patrimony, probably the last big revolution in fashion history. It incarnates a clean and elegant style, it is chic, smart and audacious ; typical also of a french savoir-faire of high-end quality. Something that we preserve and promote in our ateliers in Paris and Pau, where our historic factory is based.
In regards to Courreges can we say there is a DNA inherently linked to lifestyle? How does Courreges relate to lifestyle?
We love this quote from André Courrèges : “I am not a man of fashion. My contribution is a style of life for our times”. For us, lifestyle is about functionality and timeless elegance of style, so Courrèges !
What has been the product category with the biggest growth in the past year and what other opportunities do you see in the future?
There has been a real success this past year with a line of products using an iconic photo of Courrèges. We declined it on t-shirts, dresses and bags. But what is outstanding in a fashion world where the real business model is based on bags and accessories, is to see that more than 70% of our turnover is made with clothes and especially with dresses. The little Courrèges dress is a must-have in a woman wardrobe !
To what extent Courreges products are Made in France and how important is this?
We have our historic atelier in Pau which produces our prototypes and which is the training centre of the Courrèges techniques and savoir-faire for all of our french sub-contractors to the high-end quality level specific to the brand. We also produce in our atelier short series of our more specific and couture lines.
We also manufacture some series of products abroad, such as knitwear or leather goods in Italy, for savoir-faire and quality reasons.
This is what is most important to us today : guarantee a “made in quality” label for all of our products.
What are your plans in terms of international expansion? What do you opt for – wholesale versus mono—brand? And why?
We reopened wholesale distribution 2 years ago worldwide, and now have 135 points of sale. We open this week our first new self-owned store in Luxembourg, which will be as a lab to develop in the 5 years to come a network of more than 10 Courrèges exclusive stores in key markets with great potential for us such as USA, Japan, Russia… We are looking for local industrial partners for a development through JV or franchises.
How would you define today’s Courreges woman?
Elegant, chic and modern, more than half of our clients are between 25 and 45, and also from international origin
Are you considering launching e-commerce?
It is now one year and a half we opened our website, a real e-boutique ; it is working well because it connects with the innovative genetics of the brand : Courrèges is so digital ! We want now to develop it to be more interactive and linked to our different communities
What are you medium term plans?
To open up the doors of the distribution worldwide, to develop our 4 fragrances, and next year to launch a men’s capsule collection… And one day to pursue the dream of Coqueline to produce electric cars from our very innovative prototypes !