koché and the importance of designing for a diverse world
Christelle Kocher is at the vanguard of a new generation of French designers ripping up the rule book. Case in point? Her three-year-old contemporary label Koché, which proves luxury and the street are vital to each other.
Left to right: Marissa Séraphin (model and friend), Ulysse Klotz (dj, Aamourocean), Ed Lee (studio designer), Nelly Chevallier (model and friend), Julien Lacroix (shows artistic designer), Mehdi Meddaci (photographer), Olivia Cristiani (event organiser), Frédérique Massabuau (photographer), Antoine Boulé (dj, Aamourocean), Morgan Blanc (model and friend), Delphine Rafferty (model and friend), Christelle Kocher (creative director).
The intersection between classic Parisian fashion and contemporary streetwear is somewhere you'll find the most innovative, exciting brands right now. A little over three years old, Christelle Kocher's (almost) eponymous label Koché sits just there. Brought to life the same year Vetements began its meteoric rise, Koché has more quietly but just as assuredly captured the spirit of modern Paris on its ascent to the top of the fashion week calendar.
Shortlisted for the LVMH fashion prize and ANDAM award last year, Koché has achieved this with its unique blend of old and new, classicism and innovation, high and low, or what Christelle herself sees as a combination of "feminine contrast, diversity, energy, attitude, and passion. A balance between many creative elements."
Unsurprisingly, given the couture-inspired details of each collection, Christelle spent the years between graduating London's Central Saint Martins in 2002 and founding the French label in 2014 working within some of the industry's most revered and respected houses like Chloé, Dries Van Noten, and Bottega Veneta. More recently, Christelle has served as the artistic director of Chanel's Maison Lemarié, an atelier that specializes in plumasserie, or hand-applied feathers. Certainly high-fashion heritage runs deep through her veins and, much like her contemporary Demna Gvasalia, and other designers stitching the past with the future, working within these storied houses has given her "faith in the excellence of craftsmanship and the importance of details and precision."
But while Koché undoubtedly captures Paris's love of this great expertise in its details and "unpredictable beauty clashes," the modern streetwear element remains just as crucial to the label's identity. "I think it's politically important to represent the world as it is, extremely diverse, as well as to give positive signs of open-mindedness." With all that's happening in the world, in fashion, politics, and beyond, Koché's bridging together of two worlds seems apt, reminding us of the importance in sharing our ideas and, as Christelle herself puts it, "living together, without denying our own individuality."
Text Ryan White
Photography Rémi Lamandé