As with just about everything, the French say it so much better. What we in the States might call an alley is in Paris referred to as a “passage” (pronounce it softly, like a spa “massage”). Last Wednesday night, in one that dates back to the 18th Century and is filled these days with a world-sourced mix of importers, food markets and hair cutters, weavers, and braiders, recent LVMH nominee Christelle Kocher staged her third season of Koché.
What’s important about the setting is what important about the brand: Central to Christelle’s work is the act of putting highly technical and exclusive craft into the mainstream—into the very lifeblood of humanity. At her day job, Christelle oversees specialized embellishments for, like, Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel; for Koché, she uses this fine, couture background to reimagine basketball shorts and jigsaw velvet and paillettes into easy dresses you can throw on over a pair of jeans.
You’ve heard before of designers who apply couture techniques to ready-to-wear, but very few do it so well, and with such extremes.