Hervé Leroux, fashion designer, 1957-2017 – Financial Times

The fashion designer Hervé Peugnet made his title, and that of the Hervé Léger label he launched, with the girdle-tight, physique-hugging clothes that have been a staple of celeb wardrobes through the 1990s and early noughties. Leroux, the surname he assumed after shedding the rights to the Léger model, has died aged 60 of a ruptured aneurysm, in accordance with the Fédération de la Haute Couture.

Together with Franco-Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaïa, the “King of Cling”, Leroux pioneered using elastane in fashion, a fabric that through the 1980s was related to underwear and train equipment. The “Curvy Hervé” fashion ushered within the style of “physique-con”, or physique-acutely aware, clothes that moulds and shapes the wearer’s determine, spawning a raft of imitations.

“I like our bodies with a bosom, a waist and curves,” mentioned Leroux, and certainly his signature “bandage clothes” celebrated and enhanced the feminine type, proven off on 1990s catwalks by supermodels comparable to Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks and Eva Herzigova. A lot of them paid tribute to Mr Leroux following his loss of life.

“I felt so powerfully attractive in his fashion reveals,” Ms Banks posted on her Instagram account. “Remembering #HerveLeger — whose clothes held you in all the proper locations,” wrote Ms Crawford.

Born Hervé Peugnet on Could 30 1957 in Bapaume in northern France, Leroux moved to Paris at 18 to review on the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts however dropped out to coach as a milliner and hairdresser. An encounter with Karl Lagerfeld, then Chloé’s chief designer, launched him to the world of couture. Following stints as Mr Lagerfeld’s assistant at Fendi in Rome, adopted by Chanel in Paris, Leroux determined to strike out on his personal.

In 1985 he based the French fashion home Hervé Léger, altering his title on the recommendation of his mentor Lagerfeld, who believed that his surname Peugnet was too tough for the American market to pronounce. Lagerfeld urged Léger for its connotations of lightness.

The inspiration for the bandage costume — elastic strips of cloth sewn collectively — got here by probability at some point in a manufacturing facility when Mr Leroux discovered a batch of stretchy, materials that was heading for the bin.

“They gave me the concept of taking these bands and placing them subsequent to 1 one other as one does making a hat,” he later recalled.

The bandage clothes aren't woven however knitted on a knitting machine after which hooked up. When Mr Leroux
was designing, he used just one measurement of bandage.

“Having made bandage an indication of femininity and magnificence will not be the least of the abilities of Hervé Léger/Leroux, too quickly disappeared,” says Elisabeth Ponsolle des Portes, president and chief government of Comité Colbert, the French luxurious affiliation.

By 1995 the Hervé Léger model was making eight,000 items every season, in comparison with simply 160 two years earlier. Canadian conglomerate Seagram invested within the enterprise to assist gasoline a global enlargement and steadily diluted its founder’s possession of the label to five per cent.

In 1998 Seagram offered out to BCBG Max Azria, the Los Angeles-based mostly group created by Tunisian French husband and spouse staff Max and Lubov Azria. Inside a yr, Leroux had fallen out with them and was fired.

Its new proprietor retained the Léger title and known as the brand new assortment Hervé Léger by Max Azria.

BCBG Max Azria spent years going by way of the archives and again catalogue of Hervé Léger, at instances snapping up classic objects on eBay, to seek out out what was behind the magical bandage look. BCBG Max Azria relaunched its personal model of the bandage costume in 2007.

Mr Leroux began a brand new boutique in Paris in 2000 however, legally disadvantaged of ownership of the Hervé Léger title and label, he selected the title Leroux — which accurately interprets as “purple headed” — once more on the suggestion of Mr Lagerfeld.

Leroux by no means achieved the identical business success with the brand new model that Hervé Léger did in its heyday however nonetheless had a loyal following of personal clients.

In a ultimate twist to the story, BCBG filed for chapter in March of this yr. And whereas Hervé Peugnet died as Hervé Leroux, after two title adjustments, he's eternally entwined with the Hervé Léger bandage fashion that he created.

Burlesque queen Dita Von Teese mentioned on social media following his loss of life: “@hervelegerleroux IS Herve Léger (he needed to change his title and begin over) and he's the inventor and solely true grasp of the long-lasting bandage costume.”

Harriet Agnew

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Hervé Leroux, fashion designer, 1957-2017 - Financial Times