One aspect of the talent of Nicolas Di Felice is how smartly he optimizes the functionality of clothes through social observation—then makes it cool and sexy. This season, his thought process was triggered by watching the universal phenomenon of people hunching over their phones. “I’m really working on kind of a new silhouette that is really, like—bending,” he said in the Courrèges showroom. “It really seems like nothing, but actually it’s something, this reflection of us on our phones.”
A rig suggesting a mobile phone mast was installed in the middle of the space. Technically, Felice’s inspiration of the staring-at-screens impact on human posture brought about a slight forward-tilt of the shoulder line—and the ingenious idea of inserting an invisible zipper extending to the elbow on the inside of tailored sleeves, “so you don’t have to ruin you clothes!”
The lines of Courrèges are sharp, mostly dark, and cleverly sliced by Di Felice to adapt the original space-age minimalism of the founder for the new generation.That’s another of his talents: witness what he’s named “mini-skirt pants.” It looks like a plain black long-sleeved tunic, but there’s a narrow gap, high up on the thigh; a flash of flesh where the hem meets the pants. An incendiary item he proposes for all genders.
Meanwhile, over seasons, Di Felice has rigorously—and accessibly—established the Courrèges signatures and staples: slightly boot-cut pants, horizontal slashed pockets set flatteringly high, tonnes of sweaters in stretch knit rib, and vinyl jackets. A really desirable addition are the wickedly pointy kitten heel sock-boots. They’re branded with the increasingly-clocked Courrèges logo, but never blaringly.
This pre-collection was just a taster of what the switched-on Di Felice plans to show on the runway Paris in March. The phone-screen idea is set to take on another angle he’s observed, from those who object to surveillance. “There are people who think about it, and maybe want to resist it,” Di Felice said. “And this is more the subcultural, punk vibe.” There was a big eye, printed in black on a white mini-dress that somehow hinted at what might be to come. Whatever he meant by it, one thing’s for sure: as far as fashion’s concerned, plenty of eyes are now trained on him, watching him watching us.