Andre Courreges, the innovative French fashion designer whose creations spoke of the future, symbolized stylistic freedom and provoked hot dispute over whether he was first with the miniskirt, died Thursday at his home outside Paris, in Neuilly-sur-Seine. He was 92.
According to the Courreges firm, he had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for 30 years.
One of the most influential couturiers of his time, Courreges won fame for fitting out his models in attire that seemed to suggest not past eras or conventions, but a new up-to-date aesthetic, representative of the Space Age.
In his most productive and creative years, the 1960s, he garbed women in clothing that suggested slipping the surly bonds of earth and boldly going where few costume creators had gone before. He was also interested in providing high-quality ready-to-wear clothing, and at one time, his name adorned more than 120 shops across the globe.
In the rarefied world of high-end fashion, partisans took sides as to whether Courreges or British designer Mary Quant deserved more credit for creating the miniskirt in the mid-1960s.
According to the British newspaper the Independent, “Courreges was the inventor of the miniskirt: at least in his eyes and those of the French fashion fraternity . . . The argument came down to high fashion vs street fashion and to France versus Britain — there’s no conclusive evidence either way.”
In either case, brevity was all.
While famous for baring the knee, Courreges also encased it, along with the rest of the leg, in trousers. He was among the first designers to popularize pants for women and make them a high-fashion item, appropriate for formal and business attire.
Another of his best-known designs was the go-go boot, which bespoke the joyous, kicky enthusiasms of the 1960s.
Although not all of them chose the same styles, Courreges’s clients reportedly included former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and actresses Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn. A 1969 photograph showed Nancy Reagan in a Courreges coat.