Interview & Report

Christelle Kocher

Christelle Kocher


Born in France. Graduated from Central Saint Martins from University of Arts London.
After accumulating experience at high luxury brands, she became the Artistic Director at <MAISON LEMARIÈ> in the year of 2010.
And now, she has her own brand <KOCHÉ> since 2014.

KOCHÉ stands at the crossover of high fashion and street culture.
its intense and distinct attitude offers a very casual, yet highly luxurious, nearly haute couture approach to fashion.

Uncompromisingly modern, effortlessly elegant and timelessly refined, KOCHÉ opens a door to an intriguing new angle of high luxury fashion - "COUTURE TO WEAR".

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The Paris brand, “KOCHÉ”, which had immediately captured the hearts of fashionistas around the world since its debut in 2014, participated in Amazon Fashion Week TOKYO 2017 S/S as “ KOCHÉ Presented by H BEAUTY&YOUTH”. With the support of the Cabinet Secretariat, Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, they held their first show in Japan. (*) Using the street of Harajuku as their runway, and faces who represent the Tokyo fashion/culture scene as models, they stole the topic with their unorthodox presentation of mixing collections of both 2016 A/W season and 2017 S/S season. We’ve asked their designer, Ms. Christelle Kocher on behind-the-scenes of her show, Japanese culture, fashion, and materials.

(*)The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, “Basic Plan for the Holding of the Games” and “anticipated national response to implement smooth preparations for the formulation of the basic plan” Project This project, commissioned by the Cabinet Secretariat, is being implemented as a part of the 2016 basic research plan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The aim is “to create momentum towards the Games throughout Japan through a variety of cultural events,” as an important factor in preparation for a successful Games. Various cultural events are being held, from traditional art to modern performing arts, arts utilizing the latest in technology, design and contents of cool Japan, which have been gathering global attention. Culinary and cultural events include those rich in locality, such as Japanese Sake and cuisine, festivals, fireworks, hand-crafts, etc. These events are positioned as trial/research projects to measure their global promotive abilities and effects for prior analysis of results in preparation of a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Why did you choose the street of Harajuku as the runway for your first show in Japan?

I’ve been gathering snap magazines from way back. Even in Paris where I live, Harajuku is extremely famous as an area that symbolizes Tokyo youth culture. In planning for a show in Tokyo, I felt that my brand and the streets of Harajuku, which can be called a symbolic presence of the youth, would link well, so I chose Harajuku Street as the venue.


Scene from the show at Harajuku Street



For your debut collection also, at Paris in 2015, as the runway you used an underground market that connects directly to the station. Why do you choose such public spaces as your venue?

From the time I first started up my brand, I thought it would be more fair to have my shows open to all people that love fashion, rather than making an announcement in a closed place towards limited people. I also have strong feelings towards having the clothing of my brand seen as real cloths, in real-life, everyday surroundings. For this time, because it was an announcement in Tokyo, which is a special place for me, a place where I have received a lot of influence, I wanted people to have a fresh experience, by showing the creations of my brand in its purest possible form.



Scene from the on-the-spot interview, after the show

What aspects of Tokyo fashion and culture are you attracted to?

I feel that Japanese people truly love fashion. They are extremely creative and have a fun-loving heart at the same time. They know how to fully utilize fashion as a tool to express themselves. And I feel that these aspects link strongly with my brand. As is Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, I think that the attitude and approach of Japanese designers towards creation is worthy of respect, and I strongly empathize with Japanese art, crafts and creation. I think that both traditional things and innovative things coexist well in Japan, and this is also a huge attraction. Besides, during the 90’s in Paris when I was growing up, Japanese manga such as “Cat’s Eye” and “Dragon Ball” was very popular, and I loved reading it too, so I feel attached to Japan.



Ms. Kocher responding to an interview by AmazonFWT’s Official Ambassador, Ms. Marie

In this show, in addition to professional models, you had creators and bloggers active in Tokyo make an appearance. What is your criteria in casting?

I didn’t set any clear criteria for models. I simply asked those people who left an impression in me of their personality or individuality. I even went to clubs in Tokyo, and there were a lot of people that I picked up there too. In most cases, models are told to suppress personality and expression, but I don’t like that. In Koché shows, I ask models to express their individuality as much as possible. I don’t unify make-up and hair style either. I have each model appear in each’s own style.


From your style of mixing couture with street, and the unorthodox ways of your fashion shows, there seems to be an antithesis against the pre-existing fashion industry. Were such feelings cultivated through your experience in working for various brands?

Exactly. I’ve worked at a number of luxury brands, and at each, there were parts that I liked and parts that I disliked. I’ve always loved couture and crafts, but that alone didn’t seem realistic to me. I think a realistic style is created, for example, by mixing a luxury item with jeans or T-shirts. Mixing and matching craft or couture aspects with street aspects, gives birth to and enables the expressing of a wonderful world view, that each alone could not accomplish.


This time, your show was a mixture of 2 seasons, the 2016 A/W and 2017 S/S. This too is a unique attempt, isn’t it?

I think so (laugh). In this show, the primary thing I wanted to do was to show something fresh, and that, the items seen in the show could be bought right there, immediately. If a person saw something interesting in our show in the street, they could go to the store right away and buy it. This is the kind of experience I wanted to offer. At Koché, we aim to create clothing that are season-less, not clothing that have a life span of only one season. Through this show, I wanted to convey that our clothing are not dictated by seasonal trends.




A seasonal mix collection of 2016 A/W and 2017 S/S seasons, were announced



The show was presented in the form of KOCHÉ Presented by H BEAUTY&YOUTH. What kind of experience has this collaboration been for the brand?

It was an extremely good experience for the brand, and we have gained so much. There was much to learn from the point of view of Mr. Hirofumi Kurino, the Creative Director of UNITED ARROWS. There was also the enjoyment of exchanging opinions within the team, and putting our powers into one to create something. Furthermore, in order to present our show in the streets, it was necessary to submit permit applications to the police and shops along the street, and I think we could not have realized this show on our own.


Last but not least, could you tell us your impression of Japanese materials and textiles?

I like Japanese textiles very much, but because the scale of our brand is small, presently, it is still difficult to import to Paris from Japan. But there are many suppliers with whom we already have a relationship with, and in the future, I hope for an opportunity to collaborate with creators of Japanese kimonos and crafts.


The making of KOCHÉ 2017 S/S collection show in AmazonFWT

INTERVIEW by Yuki Harada

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