There’s nothing formulaic about Christelle Kocher’s approach to Koché, the label she launched just over two years ago. “For me, it’s about the DNA of the brand first and foremost. I’m not so thematic—I find that to be old fashioned. I don’t get inspired by one thing or moment,” she tells The Window.
That DNA is born of Kocher’s many years of experience in the industry. “It’s cheesy, but for me, being a fashion designer was always a dream,” she explains, adding that she’s a determined person who was pragmatic about achieving her goals. “I went to Central Saint Martins, because at the time it was the best fashion school and had produced Alexander McQueen and Galliano, whom I looked up to so much.” After graduating, she went on to work for a number of fashion houses including Giorgio Armani, Chloé, Dries Van Noten, and Bottega Veneta. She also had a formative experience working as creative director at Maison Lemarié, an atelier that creates plumasserie-style embellishment for the likes of Chanel and Dior.
“The point of Koché is to combine the craft and heritage of French couture with the street culture that I really love,” explains Kocher. The resulting mix provides unexpected spins on fabric combinations—think black velvet track pants with lace tuxedo stripes—and no shortage of impeccably executed embellishment.
Despite her highbrow pedigree, Kocher has a refreshingly democratic outlook when it comes to her designs.“Koché isn’t about a specific woman—it’s open and generous. You can see that reflected in the casting of my Spring ‘17 lookbook, which includes friends, models, and girls cast from the street. I don’t want to impose a certain type of woman,” she explains. She chose to show the collection on the streets Tokyo, open to the public to see—an experience she describes as incredible and emotional.
A global mindset is also at the core of the brand. “I wrote my business plan in New York, which inspires my entrepreneurship. I’ve lived in Paris, London, Antwerp. All the cultures that I’ve touched are injected into the brand in some way. It’s much more relevant to be connected these days, especially with all the social networking.”
She also lends her playful, bold aesthetic to accessories. “I grew up in the suburbs and was always a big fan of rap music and hip-hop. If you talk about jewelry, to me it’s about bling and shine!” She applies the same philosophy to her shoes, which you can look for in-store and online next month.