Wednesday, January 28th
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Known for the unforgettable bandage dresses of the eighties and nineties, designer Herve Leger (Leroux), created new and exciting collections. Born and raised in Bapaume, France, he moved to Paris at 18 to study sculpture and art history. After two years, in 1977, he dropped his studies to make a living as a hairdresser and later on a hat maker. But in 1981 he had a chance encounter with legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld. The two hit is off instantly and before he knew it Leger was working as Lagerfeld’s assistant at both Fendi and Chanel. A few years later, in 1985 Leger founded his own company and label, Herve Leger. Even with is own company, he worked as a freelance designer for the haute couture collections at Lanvin and designed accessories for Swarovski and Charles Jourdan. During the next few years Leger perfected his signature look and in 1989 introduced the form-fitting bandage dress using spandex rich fabrics to create the infamous hourglass shape. He is quickly embraced by fashion press, rock stars, models, minor royalty and celebrities like Halle Berry, Celine Dion, Fran Drescher and Christine Lahti.
Sadly in March of 1999, BCBG Max Azria bought out Herve Leger, resulting in Leger leaving the company and losing commercial rights to his own name. But you can't keep a good couturier down. By September of the same year he changed his name and created a new label, Herve L. Leroux (Herve the red), a name suggested by Karl Lagerfeld. His line of eveningwear features a new concept of draping cuts with tucks in the bodice, bare backs, and gathering details all in subtle, rich, deep tones. Leger’s new look continues to focus on the female figure and can only be described as sexy. His dresses are handmade for private clients, sold in a few stores around the world or at his boutique on the rue Jacob in Saint Germain des Pres, which opened in 2000. Leger maintains his celebrity clientele with additions like Kate Walsh, Taraji P. Henson, and Penelope Cruz who wore a Leroux gown to the premiere of her movie "Vicky Christina Barcelona". In September 2004, the textile group YGM Trading Ltd, purchased the Paris house of Guy Laroche and to revitalize the label called on Herve Leger to design the womenswear line. He brought the company to new heights and left in 2006 to concentrate on his own label, with the possibility of designing daywear in the future.
Herve Leger designed costumes for the ballet “Camera Oscura” at Paris Opera and “Le Lac Des Cygnes” at Marseille. He also designed ballerina Zizi Jeanmaire’s costumes for her shows at Bercy and Marseille Zenith in Paris. After leaving his company in 1999, Leger immediately signed a contract to design ready-to-wear clothing, swimwear, and hosiery for Austrian company Wolford.