Koche

Fashion Week SPACE

SPACE Brand Koché: Feathers, Sequins and the Walk of Life at Paris Fashion Week

When Chloé alum and current CHANEL atelier artistic director Christelle Kocher debuted her own brand, Koché, one year ago, she did it in the subbasement of Forum des Halles, a shopping mall that “could not be more central to all of Paris.”

It was nighttime; everything was closed, and the mood was both egalitarian and individual. No air of privilege, no sense of the elite—but something sort of secret and utterly uncommon just the same. It set the perfect tone for the brand, creating just the right kind of buzz and energy.

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All images by Jessa Carter

Last season she took over an alleyway in an obscure neighborhood, expressing her mission to bring “poetry to the street” in a loud, gritty and thoroughly exhilarating way. And then earlier this week, during the first days of Fashion Week, she returned to Les Halles at the mall’s suggestion, this time setting up her version of a runway on the newly renovated, futuristic ground-floor level.

“The show, the brand, the story, the collection—these are all the same thing for me,” she told us a few days later when we met for tea near her studio. As a group they tell a story, and the story is about togetherness and hope despite the city’s recent traumas, and it’s about using the beauty of craft to uplift the ordinary. 

And it’s also about feathers, sequins, track jackets and a cool footwear collaboration with SPACE brand Adieu.

CLICK IN TO SEE SPORTY LACE AND EMBELLISHED WORKWEAR

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Check Out This Paris Fashion Week Video from SPACE Brand Koché

For lots of brands—particularly those in the emerging designer realm—the runway is no longer on the runway. More and more forward thinkers are walking away from the traditional conventions of Fashion Week and doing their own versions of theater, presentation, experience and the big reveal.

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Scenes of Olivia Kim and the crew in Koché’s runway/alleyway during the fall shows in March.

Here’s an amazing example: when SPACE designer Christelle Kocher unveiled Koché’s current collection in Paris last March, she did so not in a staid, classroomlike setting but in a bustling, multilingual alleyway in the middle of the city.

The result felt something like the French version of a glamorous flash mob, with the pranksters dressed in patchwork velvet and bejeweled tomboy silhouettes. We’re lucky enough to have video footage of it—in anticipation of the next season of Paris Fashion Week. We’re sharing it here.

CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO

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Fashion Week SPACE

Paris Fashion Week: LVMH Nominee Koché Brings Couture to the Street (No, Really)

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.

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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.

HERE’S WHAT IT WAS LIKE IN THAT MAGICAL ALLEYWAY

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Fashion Week News: LVMH Finalists Include SPACE Designers and Heartbreaker Heroes

It’s not easy out there for a young fashion designer—can you think of a pursuit with more overhead, for example?—but organizations such as Louis Vuitton create a climate for making it work with their LVMH awards. Semifinalists for the 2016 prize have just been awarded, and we’re psyched to see some friends in the mix. 

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A Koche look featured in our exclusive editorial on SPACE; designer Christelle Kocher is a LVMH semifinalist

CHECK OUT THE OTHERS IN THE RUNNING

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