In memoriam: Hervé Léger

Alexandrina Turcan in Hervé L. Leroux Resort 2017 photographed by Desiree Mattsson
Hervé L. Leroux Resort 2017 photographed by Desiree Mattsson. Model: Alexandrina Turcan. Image: Desiree Mattsson.

Farewell to the great Hervé Léger. I wrote a brief tribute to the late designer for FASHION magazine.

To learn more about Léger’s work for Guy Laroche under the name Hervé L. Leroux, and the commercial patterns from his tenure, see my series.

Hervé L. Leroux (Hervé Léger) for Guy Laroche: Vogue Patterns, Part 2

Guy Laroche campaign SS 2006 with Angelle Boucher
Guy Laroche ad campaign, SS 2006. Model: Angelle Boucher. Image: The Fashion Spot.

This week, more Guy Laroche patterns by Hervé L. Leroux, the designer formerly known as Hervé Léger. (See Part 1 here.) Toward the end of Leroux’s tenure, the fashion press seems to have lost interest in Guy Laroche, making it more difficult to find commentary on the house’s collections.

3. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 2006 (shown October 2005)

Hervé L. Leroux’s second spring collection for Laroche echoed his first in its neutral palette, this time brightened with pops of yellow. The clothes had a more relaxed fit, with draping and smocking details and big belts to emphasize the waist. (See Jessica Michault, “At Guy Laroche, Cutting to the Chase.”)

Here is the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles:

L'Officiel 1000modeles no58 2005
L’Officiel 1000 modèles no. 58 (2005) Image: jalougallery.com.

Vogue Patterns’ selection from this collection, Vogue 2955, is a loose jacket and pants:

Vogue V2955 suit by Hervé L. Leroux for Guy Laroche
Vogue 2955 by Hervé L. Leroux for Guy Laroche (2007) Image: Vogue Patterns.

(You can see the technical drawing here.)

Here’s the envelope description: Misses’/Misses’ Petite Jacket and Pants: Loose-fitting, unlined, waist-length jacket has collar, dropped shoulders, flaps and welt pockets, stitched pleats creating a blouson effect, attached belts with D-rings and long sleeves with buttoned cuffs. Straight-legged, loose-fitting pants have waistband, fly zipper closure, stitched pleats, side seam pockets and wide, turn back hem cuffs.

V2955 by Hervé L. Leroux for Guy Laroche on the cover of the Vogue Patterns catalogue, Spring 2007
V2955 by Hervé L. Leroux for Guy Laroche on the cover of the Vogue Patterns retail catalogue, Spring 2007. Image: eBay.

The V2955 design is visible in L’Officiel’s composite above (at bottom left) and this Corbis image.

4. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 2006-7 (shown March 2006)

For his last collection for Guy Laroche, Leroux showed dramatic, sculpted silhouettes in velvet, satin, and lace as well as his trademark jersey. The models walked a dark, glittering parterre, with smoky eyes and broad velvet headbands doubled back around their chignons. You can watch a video of the show on FashionTV’s YouTube channel; there’s also free access to this collection on firstVIEW.

Here is the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles:

L'Officiel 1000 modeles number 63 (2006) Guy Laroche by Herve L Leroux Herve Leger
L’Officiel 1000 modèles no. 63 (2006) Image: jalougallery.com.

Vogue Patterns’ selection is Vogue 1016, a slinky, halter-necked evening gown:

Vogue V1016 evening dress pattern by Hervé L. Leroux for Guy Laroche
Vogue 1016 by Hervé L. Leroux for Guy Laroche (2007)
Vogue V1016 schematic
Technical drawing for V1016

The envelope description reads: Misses’ Dress: Close-fitting, halter dress with lined gathered draped bodice and topstitched trim princess seam midriff, gathered skirt forming drape around hipline. Hooks and eyes, invisible zipper closing and floor length. View A has a contrast midriff.

Here’s a runway image of the V1016 evening dress:

Image: YouTube.

You can see a closeup of the dress on firstVIEW here.

Vogue 1016 was featured on the cover of the 2007 holiday issue of Vogue Patterns. The velvet contrast midriff is most clearly visible on the magazine cover:

Vogue Patterns magazine December 2007 January 2008
V1016 on the cover of Vogue Patterns, Dec/Jan 2007-08. Photo: Brian Kraus. Image: Vogue Patterns.

Today, unlike the current Hervé Léger by Max Azria, Hervé L. Leroux’s own label keeps a low profile. Still, online images of Leroux’s recent designs show predominantly celebrities on the red carpet, wearing gowns that are hard to distinguish from his work at Laroche. No wonder V1016 stayed in print for years…

Hervé L. Leroux (Hervé Léger) for Guy Laroche: Vogue Patterns, Part 1

Hilary Swank in Guy Laroche by Hervé L. Leroux / Hervé Léger, 2005
Hilary Swank in Guy Laroche, 2005. Image: Miss_fashionmix.

Only a few weeks til the Oscars! One dress that’s consistently included in ‘Best Oscars Dresses’ lists is the Guy Laroche gown Hilary Swank wore to accept her Academy Award in 2005. Between 2004 and 2006, Guy Laroche collections were designed by Hervé L. Leroux. You’ve probably heard of Leroux under his original name: Hervé Léger. Léger studied sculpture and art history before leaving school to pursue a career in fashion, working as assistant to Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi and at Chanel, Lanvin, and Chloé. Léger established his own label in 1985 and soon made his name with his sexy bandage dresses.

In 1999 Hervé Léger lost control of his company after its acquisition by BCBG Max Azria; he also lost the right to business use of his name. (Hervé Léger is now designed by Max Azria.) Within six months the designer founded a new company as Hervé L. Leroux. (Karl Lagerfeld provided the new name—a reference to the designer’s red hair. See Suzy Menkes, “Customers, Old and New, Track Down Fashion’s Hidden Assets: The Comeback Kids.”) Hervé L. Leroux opened a boutique in Paris the following year, showing ready-to-wear privately and providing clients with made-to-measure draped jersey dresses.

Leroux was hired to design for Guy Laroche after the house changed hands for the second time that decade. (See the WWD article here.) His tenure ended with his resignation in January 2006, making the Fall/Winter 2006-7 ready-to-wear his final collection for the house. Vogue Patterns’ Guy Laroche license allowed the company to release designs from all four of Hervé Leroux’s collections for Laroche.

1. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 2005 (shown October 2004)

For his first collection for Guy Laroche, Hervé L. Leroux presented a strong collection of body-conscious designs, with sleek tailoring and torso-hugging jersey dresses in silk and viscose. Black, white, and taupe predominated, with the addition of blue and burgundy for evening. The models, with natural makeup and minimal accessories, entered through a giant gilt frame rimmed with acid yellow light. (See Jessica Michault, “The Collections / Paris: Guy Laroche.”) The collection’s finale was the dress Swank wore to accept her Oscar for Million Dollar Baby; dubbed the Hilary, it was still available to customers three seasons later. You can see thumbnails of the collection here; there’s also a video of the show on FashionTV’s YouTube channel.

Here is the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles:

L'Officiel 1000 modeles number 48 (2004) Guy Laroche Herve Leger Herve L Leroux
Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter, Spring/Summer 2005. L’Officiel 1000 modèles no. 48 (2004). Image: jalougallery.com.

Vogue Patterns chose two designs from the Spring collection. Vogue V2899 (which is still in print now out of print) is a low-backed cocktail dress, shown as an LBD:

Vogue 2899 Guy Laroche cocktail dress pattern by Herve L. Leroux
Vogue V2899 by Herve L. Leroux for Guy Laroche (2006) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.
Vogue 2899 Guy Laroche by Herve L Leroux schematic
Technical drawing for V2899

Here’s the description from the pattern envelope: Misses’ Dress. Close-fitting, tapered, self-lined dress, below mid-knee has front drape and concealed front neck band which extends into back shoulder straps (one gathered and one concealed), princess seams with ruched detail (no pocket), and back zipper.

You may have seen Erica Bunker’s version of V2899 (see her post here). Here is a runway image of the dress:

Runway version of Vogue V2899 by Guy Laroche Herve Leger Herve L Leroux

The second pattern, Vogue V2937, is for a pantsuit with backless jacket:

Vogue V2937 Guy Laroche Herve Leger Herve L Leroux backless jacket pants suit.
Vogue V2937 by Guy Laroche (2006)
Vogue V2937 Guy Laroche schematic
Technical drawing for V2937

The envelope description reads: Misses’ jacket & pants. Loose-fitting, lined jacket (fitted at waist and through hips) has low neckline and partially backless back, neck band, contrast back and front drapes, raised waistline, inside belt, exposed separating zipper closure and two-piece sleeves. Slightly flared pants, floor length has wide raised waistband and back zipper. The pattern calls for a sheer stretch knit for the jacket contrast and lining.

Here are some runway images of the V2937 design:

Runway version of Vogue V2937 by Guy Laroche Herve Leger Herve L LerouxRunway version back view of Vogue V2937 by Guy Laroche Herve Leger Herve L Leroux

2. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 2005-6 (shown March 2005)

The Guy Laroche Fall 2005 collection alluded to the fashions of the late 1930s and 1940s: the models wore Forties-inflected hairstyles to present Leroux’s slim, strong-shouldered silhouettes and belted jackets and trenches. (See Jessica Michault, “From the red carpet to an enchanted forest.”) You can watch the FashionTV video of the show here.

The collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles shows the day wear’s sombre colours:

L'Officiel 1000 modeles number 53 (2005) Guy Laroche Herve Leger Herve L Leroux
Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter, Fall/Winter 2005-6. L’Officiel 1000 modèles no. 53 (2005). Image: jalougallery.com.

Vogue Patterns’ selection from the Fall collection, Vogue V2922, is a belted pantsuit with military styling:

Vogue V2922 Vogue 2922 Guy Laroche Hervé Léger Hervé L Leroux jacket pants belt
Vogue V2922 by Guy Laroche (2006) Image: Etsy.

Here’s the envelope description: Misses’/Misses’ Petite Jacket, Belt and Pants: Double-breasted, lined jacket has princess seams, back inverted pleat, self belts and epaulets with buttonhole closure. Pants have front pleats, fly front, slanted side seam pockets, back darts and wide waistband.

The runway photo shows the fluidity of the original design:

runway version of V2922: Chiara Baschetti modelling Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter, Fall/Winter 2005-6
Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter, Fall/Winter 2005-6. Model: Chiara Baschetti. Image: The Fashion Spot.

Leroux had left bandage dresses in the past with the Hervé Léger name; his work for Laroche shows a more mature glamour. It’s nice to see the kind of elegant, red carpet-friendly eveningwear he designs for his own, Hervé L. Leroux label in pattern form. And I’ve gained an appreciation for his relaxed yet vampy tailoring after seeing the runway versions.

Next: Hervé Léger Hervé L. Leroux’s second year at Guy Laroche.