Five Emerging Fashion Labels That Redefine French Luxury

Gigi Hadid walks the runway during the Coperni Womenswear Spring/Summer 2022 runway show. (Photo by

Dior, Chanel, Vuitton, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent. These Parisian mega brands have dominated French fashion culture for decades and are household names the world over. Recently a new wave of young designers has been building the next generation of big brands on the capital city’s fashion scene. Monday, the Spring Summer 2022 collection got a lively start in Paris, with a full schedule of physical shows and presentations to accompany a digital effort. The pandemic gave way to digital show formats, which in the case of live shows means an accompanying film to supplement markets still unable to travel to Paris. Five young brands—each one connected in some way to the prestigious LVMH Prize—Kenneth Ize, Marine Serre, Thebe Magugu, Koché and Coperni- displayed strong collections, further cementing their mark on fashion. Thebe Magugu, a former LVMH Prize winner whose designs are currently featured in the lux department store Le Bon Marche recognizes this new shift. “We are building our brands and doing it on our terms,” he notes despite their impressive endorsement from the luxury behemoth. Here, a roundup of what to know about these buzzy names.

KENNETH IZE:

Since participating in the 2019 LVMH Prize as a finalist, Ize brand has gained steam each season. His Spring 2022 collection kicked off fashion week and furthered his collection with elevated textiles. The emotional designer said post-show that his inspiration came from ‘the new dawn of the new era we are living,’ which was expressed in a group of golden fringed pieces juxtaposed to the explosion of color through checked and striped fabrics. Born in Vienna to Nigerian parents, the designer highlights Yoruba craft skills with textiles woven in Nigeria, blending traditional African and Western influences with a non-gender-conforming style. Supermodel Naomi Campbell supporting his first show helped the designer get noticed by the industry. Recently he was tapped to design a capsule collection for the Karl Lagerfeld collection, the first since the founder’s death, under the direction of Carine Roitfeld. Currently, his clothes are sold at Matches Fashion and Farfetch. Retail prices range from approximately 350 to 1150 USD.

MARINE SERRE:

Serre also got a kickstart to her career after winning the 2017 LVMH Prize. Achieving almost cult status since her debut collection in 2018, the designer has made her mark with futuristic designs with an upcycled approach and signature crescent moon logo, which graces body-con layering pieces. Spring 2022 marked her most sustainable yet as Serre displayed nine looks on mannequins to accompany her film Ostal24, which means house in the ancient Occitan language native to the French region when she grew up. The tightly edited collection proposes examining the relationship one has with consumption and nature and challenges one to be more mindful. To that end, Serre repurposed classic linen kitchen towels and napkins, converted cutlery into jewelry, and explored the merits of vegetable dyes.

To sum up the effort, Serre said, “The most important thing for me is what people feel when they see Ostal24rather than what they think. I want people to feel the beauty and the simplicity of being together and finding joy in cooking, eating, dancing, yoga. And at the same time, recognize we make choices that impact daily, so how can we be more responsible in the decisions we make? Fashion is about more than draping fabric and making a profit; it can be a place where we are free to take meaningful action.” The 29-year old’s collection is sold internationally at stores such as Dover Street Market, Galeries Lafayette, SSENSE and Nordstrom

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and ranges in price from approximately 250 to 6000 USD.

THEBE MAGUGU: The South African designer was the 2019 LVMH Prize winner and the first designer from Africa ever to win the honor. According to a company statement, the designer combines “pillar practices of cultural honor, novelty and uncompromising quality; we are establishing an identity marked by self-evolving timelessness.” The designer took a remarkably personal approach this season by referencing family photographs, mainly of his mother and aunt. Those personal mementos created looks directly inspired by clothes worn in the pictures. At a presentation for his collection called “Genealogy” on Tuesday, Magugu said he turned to the mementos after feeling a bit despondent by the state of things in South Africa. “I wanted to create something quite optimistic in opposition to nastiness in the air that was affecting, so I turned to what always lifts me: my family.” The presentation showed the new collection looks individually placed on an enlarged format of the image and the modern interpretation of it in front while a split-screen film showed the designer in an intimate conversation with his mother and aunt on one side and the filming of the collection, which was interspersed with disparate items on the other. “It’s disparate, but they work together; it’s very intimate, and yet there is a bizarre moment of a fragmented memory.” Currently, the collection is sold at Dover Street Market Asia, Koibird in London, and Communite in New York, among others. The pieces range from approximately 200 to 800 USD.

KOCHÉ: Christelle Kocher established Koché in 2014. She was shortlisted for the 2015 LVMH Prize and won the ANDAM Prize in 2019. Her collections were described by the Prize as “a crossover of high fashion, street culture and contemporary art” and promote fluidity and do away with traditional gender lines. In her young career, she has been tapped as artistic director for the Maison Lemarie and earned a guest creative director spot at Emilio Pucci for the Fall 2021 collection. Her Spring 2022 collection exemplified the street-meet-couture vibe. Her streetwear tendencies were heavily peppered with 18th-century French court dressing references—think beading, feathers, organza overlays—yielding a collection that exudes refinement. If it looked a touch romantic, that was no mistake. The designer paired up with dating site Tinder on a collection of hoodies, T-shirts, and dresses interpreting Tinder branding. A portion of the sales will benefit the Association ModaFusion’s Casa 93, a fashion school in Seine-Saint-Denis. Koche is carried at Printemps, Luisa Via Roma, 24Sevres, and Ikram, among others. Retail prices range from approximately 150 to 1500 USD.

COPERNI: When Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant were named co-creative directors of Courrèges in 2015, they recused themselves from the finalist status for the 2015 LVMH Prize. Previously they had won the ANDAM First Collection Prize in 2014 and put their label, Coperni, on hold. They relaunched the brand in 2019 upon exiting Courrèges and have been building brand awareness steadily through a signature oval-shaped handbag and their disruptive approach like staging a runway show during the pandemic where guests viewed from cars in groups of three and four. This season the duo chose a sandy runway flanked by chanvre or hemp plants for a collection that channeled the beach club scene of the 90s; think Ibiza or Miami Beach nightlife from the era. The fun party-ready collection included Pucci-esque prints on legging and go-go shorts, shell-laden miniskirts and halters, wet-suit liner tops, shrunken bombers, and a blotter acid print to wink at the dance all night lifestyle espoused in this world. Coperni is stocked at Bergdorf Goodmen, Nordstrom, Lane Crawford

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, Galeries Lafayette, and more. Retail prices range from approximately 176 to 1000 USD.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/roxannerobinson/2021/10/01/five-emerging-fashion-labels-that-redefine-french-luxury/