Michel Couture: Swiss Fashion with a British Touch

Posted on 28/02/2018 by Eileen Schuch
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Michel Couture Swiss Fashion

Michel Couture ready-to-wear fashion draws its inspiration drawn from London streets, clearly displaying a penchant for a chic but relaxed look. From T-shirt to cardigan, from the indispensable jeans to the must-have duffle coat, from tie and bow tie to irresistible socks: Michel Couture offers an elegant and sleek style that manages to be playful, carefully shaped and singular at the same time. A touch of extravagance is thrown into the bargain, unveiled in small details that sublime the style and make all the difference. Michel’s touch of fantasy remodels conventions.

Michèle and Michel Couture, a story in Stitches

The creator of Michel, the boy, is Michèle, the girl: in 2013, at the age of only 31 years, the young woman from Gruyère bundled her contagious energy and determination and went for the plunge. Here is the full story:

Student at the High School of Art and Design (HEAD) in Geneva, Michèle Schneuwly already stands out in 2009, when she won the competition to clothe the Swiss Pavilion Guides of the Shanghai World Expo. She received mandats for major brands such as Omega, British American Tobacco or Michel Jordi. After eight years of learning, Michèle is certain of her style, she wants to create her own collection and to see it presented in the spotlight. Keen on creation, determined and persistent, Michèle Schneuwly makes the next step: her Swiss label hatches.

With help of the AHEAD Foundation, GENILEM, the IKEA Foundation and the Hélève & Victor Barbour Foundation, the adventure begins: open to all students of Geneva’s High Schools, the Genilem Award has been established to boost young companies. Michèle wins the Award, giving her financial support and three years of expert coaching. She also wins the Ahead Incubator, supporting young designers with coaching for two years and regular financial support. Additionally, IKEA is part of her support panel.

“London Calling”, her first Spring-Summer collection, sets the tone. Her inspiration was fuelled by a trip across the Channel, where she was seduced by the quirky style of the English, the proud display of chic and casual. Intrigued, she dropped her planned shopping spree (WHAT? – Yes, she did!) and started to sketch the passer-bys on the street.

Determined to succeed with “London Calling”, the young designer moved to Lausanne. There she visited the boutiques in order to present her trendy, authentic Swiss Made collection and to pitch it to potential buyers. A plan that works: in 2014, Michèle signs her second autumn-winter collection. Entitled “Home”, it draws imagination of her personal universe: the daily life in the mountains, with parents who were environmentalists, accustomed to manual labour; her excursions to the flea and junk markets, where she harvested authentic or crude materials that she later transformed into handmade, sleek and vintage originals.

To this day, concerned about quality, the label Michel produces exclusively within Europe. All textiles are carefully selected and their origin closely monitored, while confectioning takes place in small Swiss and Portuguese companies, to ensure the highest quality and fair ethics.

Currently, Michel Couture is available in several Swiss outlets: in Fribourg at Et pis c’est tout, in Geneva at Foound, in Biel at Edus, in Basel at AHOI AHOI and in Liestal at Modewerk. You can also order from the e-shop, straight to your wardrobe.

Michel, decrypting the bow-tie effect

When Balzac claimed, with a firm fist, in his Treatise on Elegant Living from 1830, that it suffices to have one look at a man’s head and what connects it to the chest, he was, you might have guessed, referring to the bow-tie. This piece of cloth, whose origin is obscure, but is, by many, attributed to Beau Brummel, the famous dandy of the nineteenth century, is ubiquitous in the collections of Michel. Le Corbusier and Churchill could have been loyal customers, Stromae could still turn into one.

With Hedi Slimane and Burberry Prorsum as inspiration, Michel Couture seduces men who appreciate fashion, do not necessarily want to wear what everyone else does and who stand out from the crowd.

A post shared by michel (@michelcouture.ch) on

Michel is, above all, a visit to the classics, with a sprinkle of contemporary charm. Gentlemen, keep an eye on her! Choose tweeds, redesigned with bold materials. Dress with jackets in the style of duffle coats, revisited. Put on pants trimmed with Liberty fabric. Present your shirts with bicolour braces in the style of coats, smart reminders of French cuffs. Bundle up your feet in socks decorated with tiny “Ms”. Michel is contemporary, urban and very original with its display of lively colours. And ladies, no need for envy! Michel caters for the whole family!

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