15 Jun

Herve Leroux, Creator Of The Herve Leger, Dies At 60

Herve L. Leroux, Who Created The Figure-Hugging Herve Leger “Bandage Dresses” Once Beloved By Celebrities And The Jet Set, And Who Became a Fashion Cautionary Tale After He Lost The Rights To The Name Leger, Died On Wednesday In Paris. He Was 60.

Internationally Known Thanks To The Success Of His First Label, Herve Leger, Mr. Leroux (The Name He Assumed After Losing The Rights To Leger) Helped Create One Of The Defining Styles Of The 1990s In The Form Of The Bandage Dress. It Was Formed From Dozens Of Elasticated Bandage-Style Strips Of Knitted Cloth, Creating a Body-Sculpting, Skintight Silhouette.

At The Peak Of His Popularity, Mr. Leger’s Designs Were Worn By Stars And Celebrities Like Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Victoria Beckham And Melania Trump.

On Her Blog, Ms. Kardashian Wrote Of The Bandage Dress In 2016: “I Would Literally Save Up All My Paychecks And Go And Wait, And Stalk The Girls That Worked At Herve And Just Get All The New Colors.”

Mr. Leroux Was Born Herve Peugnet On May 30, 1957, In Bapaume, In Northern France. He Studied Sculpture And Art History At The Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Beaux-Arts In Paris Before Dropping Out To Become a Hairstylist And Milliner.

In 1981 He Met Karl Lagerfeld, Who Encouraged Him To Pursue Fashion Design. He Changed His Surname For The First Time After Mr. Lagerfeld Advised Him That Peugnet Would Be Too Difficult For Americans, The Target Market, To Pronounce. He Suggested Leger, Liking The Allusion To Lightness, For Which The French Word Is Legerete.

Mr. Leroux, Now Working Under The Name Leger, Worked Alongside Mr. Lagerfeld At Fendi And Later At Chanel And Freelanced At Lanvin And Diane Von Furstenberg Before Introducing His Own Boutique, Herve Leger, In 1984. A Fashion Line With The New Name Soon Followed, And Then Came The Inception Of The Bandage Dress.

“The Story Of The Dress Is a Very Simple One,” Mr. Leroux Said. “Before I Started Making Clothes, I Was a Hairdresser, Then a Hat Maker. One Day In a Factory I Found Some Bands That Were Headed For The Garbage. They Gave Me The Idea Of Taking Those Bands And Putting Them Next To One Another As One Does Making a Hat.”

Coinciding With The Ascendance Of Azzedine Alaïa, The So-Called King Of Cling, Mr. Leroux’s Bandage Dress Received Considerable Acclaim. It Was Designed To Encase a Figure And Enhance It In The Most Flattering Of Ways. While Sales Never Reached Blockbuster Levels, The Dress’s Aesthetic Impact Would Be Seen In The Work Of Rivals On Runways And On The Clothes Racks Of Mass-Market Retailers.

“Mr. Leger Proved Why Paris Is The Center Of Fashion Creativity,” Carrie Donovan Wrote In The New York Times Magazine After a Show In 1991, Using The Surname He Went By At The Time. “His Collection Was Original, Well Thought Out, Knowledgeably Executed And About As Incendiary As Style Can Be These Days.”

His Designs Also Proved Alluring To Investors Keen To Expand The Company Across Product Lines And Geographical Borders. In 1998, Mr. Leroux’s Business Was Acquired By The Los Angeles-Based Group Bcbg Max Azria. It Was The First Time An American Company Had Acquired a French Designer-Couturier.

But He Quickly Fell Out With The New Owners, And In 1999 He Lost Control Of The Leger Name, Which Was Retained By Mr. Azria, Who Called The New Collection “Herve Leger By Max Azria.”

In 2000, Mr. Leger Founded His Own Independently Financed Fashion House, Herve L. Leroux, Adopting a New Surname That Had Again Been Suggested By His Old Friend And Mentor Mr. Lagerfeld.

As Mr. Leroux Recalled In An Interview With Style.Com In 2006, “He Told Me, ‘Call Yourself Leroux Because Your Hair Is Red — Not As Red As It Was, Because You Are Older — But, Anyway, It Works, And Everyone Will Know Who You Are.’”

In The Last Chapter Of His Career, Mr. Leroux’s Clientele Remained Loyal To His Feminine Jersey Dresses And His Chic Approach To Contemporary Cocktail Attire. As Creative Director Of The Paris House Guy Laroche From 2004 To 2006, He Dressed Hilary Swank For The 2005 Academy Awards Ceremony In a Memorable Backless Midnight-Blue Jersey Gown, Which Was Seen By Millions Of Television Viewers When She Strode To The Stage To Accept The Best Actress Award For Her Performance In The Movie “Million Dollar Baby.”

Mr. Leroux Showed a New Collection In 2013 As a Guest On The Paris Couture Calendar After a 12-Year Hiatus From The Catwalk. But He Never Again Achieved The Recognition Or Fame He Found Under His Previous Name, Underscoring The Creative And Commercial Struggles That Can Ensue When a Designer’s Name Is No Longer The Designer’s.

He Is Survived By His Sister, Jocelyne, Who Was a Partner In The Leroux Business.

After The News Of His Death Broke, Many Of Those Who Loved His Designs Shared Tributes On Instagram.

The Entertainer Dita Von Teese Wrote: “We’Ve Lost One Of The Fashion Greats. I Loved Herve For His Wit, His Candor, His Sublime Elegance And Of Course, His Talent, Which Came From Authentic Obsession, With No Care For The Commerciality Of Fashion.”

And Cindy Crawford, Posting a Picture Of Herself Standing Next To Mr. Leroux In One Of His Scarlet Red Creations, Wrote, “Remembering The Man Who Created The Herve Leger Bandage Dress, Which Held You In All The Right Places.”

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