Courrèges names Yolanda Zobel as Creative Director

Courrèges has announced the appointment of Yolanda Zobel as Creative Director. The designer has roots in Germany, through her jewellery designer father, and in France through her mother, and is a women's ready-to-wear specialist. She will start in her new role on 26 February and show her first collection, for Spring/Summer 2019 in Paris next September.

Yolanda Zobel - photo Mark Peckmezian

After studying fashion in Berlin, the young designer, who "grew up in Germany in a family of artists," started her career at Giorgio Armani in 1999. She then worked on the womenswear collections for Chloé, Jil Sander and Acne Studios, where she met Christina Ahlers, who is German herself, and who at the start of 2018 was appointed General Manager of Courrèges.

The couture house, founded in 1961 by André Courrèges, is in the midst of a reorganisation. Last July, Courrèges ended the collaboration with designer duo Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, who had been in charge of the label's creativity for two years, and in 2017 it also downsized, closing down the factory based in Pau, France.

In 2011, Courrèges was bought by media businessmen Jacques Bungert and Frédéric Torloting, and now Artémis, the holding company of the Pinault family, owners of the Kering group, has a 40% stake in it. Kering too holds a small stake in Courrèges since 2015, and has recently increased its share in the label's capital.

As François-Henri Pinault, CEO of the French luxury group, said at the presentation of Kering's annual results on Tuesday, "Artémis is an incubator, and its mission is not to hold in store the brands in which it invests, but to support their development. As it did with the Giambattista Valli couture label, in which Artémis acquired a minority shareholding in June 2017."

Renowned for its futuristic designs and pared-down, geometric shapes, Courrèges made a successful comeback on the Parisian catwalks in September 2015, under the aegis of Meyer and Vaillant. The duo’s first collection, at once fresh and contemporary, was well received. However, after the initial enthusiasm was over, the label never managed to truly take off, especially outside France, where it is less known.

With Christina Ahlers and Yolanda Zobel now at the helm, the plan is to start "a new development cycle, so that Courrèges can again play a leading role both creatively and commercially," through the expansion of its fashion, accessories and fragrance business, said Bungert and Torloting in a press release.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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