At seven years old, Koché is on the cusp between emerging label and household brand, a moment that got Christelle Kocher thinking about the fundamentals of the brand.
“Before starting a new cycle, it’s about where it came from, where we started, the design, the trial-and-error, the research, the team,” she said. Even the brand’s Parisian studio made an appearance, as the setting for the fall look book.
In a nutshell, the starting point’s always been contrasts of materials, a focus on wearability and Kocher’s use of traditional couture know-how on decidedly contemporary fare. “I wanted to have this very urban [vibe], a new energy that’s a little punk with a feminine side that I took a while to fully embrace again, with refined work on pieces with embroideries and embellishments,” she continued, naming dresses as a category that saw her drape and pleat in the spirit of Madeleine Vionnet and Madame Grès.
Knitwear took pride of place this season. It’s a category that’s been going strongly for the brand, and one that Kocher delved into for its ease-of-wear but also the potential to apply the full force of her artisanal vision.
Case in point: a sweater dress inlaid with lace; a halterneck gown that paired silk with ribbed knits that achieved a seamless pleated look, or zippered cardigan coats that used multiple types of stitches.
Elsewhere, the intricate folds on a top were offset by the mesh it was made of, while boxy blousons and trenches were given a sharp makeover thanks to architectural shoulder lines. A fluffy gorilla jacket made of feathers and raw-edged chiffon that was as light to wear as it was visually striking thanks to its organza and Airtex mesh underpinnings.
For the masculine side to her lineup, Kocher delved into the sportier part of her playbook, reworking sports jerseys, zippered sweaters and motorcycle jackets, in a nod to the work of German visual artist Alexandra Bircken.
There’s another way in which Kocher is about to double down on her label’s identity: by moving to the men’s calendar as of next season.
Not only did it feel like a conceptual fit, including a proximity to couture, but it also made commercial sense for the brand, which will no longer be offering pre-collections.
“Concentrating my message in one collection with multiple commercial drops made more sense for my brand, my teams — to do less but better,” Kocher said.
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