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Leonard Parts Ways With Maxime Simoens

French fashion house and designer said Wednesday they would end their collaboration after only one season.

PARIS — French fashion house Leonard and designer Maxime Simoens said Wednesday they would end their collaboration after only one season.

This story first appeared in the April 5, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

This confirms a report in WWD on March 5 that the young Paris designer would exit Leonard, known for hand-printed Coptic and orchid designs on silk jersey.

The parties revealed the development in a joint, two-line statement. There was no mention of a successor, and Leonard declined further comment.

According to sources, Raffaele Borriello, co-founder of the Paris fashion label Requiem, is expected to be named Leonard’s next designer, as reported in these columns on March 15.

For his part, Simoens, 27, noted the separation from Leonard would leave him “free to concentrate on new projects.”

Sources said Simoens has conducted talks with Christian Dior, which has yet to name a successor to disgraced couturier John Galliano.

Simoens has repeatedly denied to WWD that he has had any contact with Dior.

The buzzy talent has a signature ready-to-wear line he shows during the Paris couture schedule. Celebrity fans of his sexy and graphic dresses include Mélanie Laurent, Rachel McAdams and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey.

Asked on Wednesday about the “new projects,” a spokesman for the designer said he is focused on his next signature collection, which will be shown here in July.

During his brief tenure at Leonard, Simoens steered the brand — founded in 1958 — in a rock ’n’ roll direction. For his fall collection, he paraded short and tight cocktail dresses and belted jackets best suited to the under-30 set.

Simoens took over at Leonard from Véronique Leroy, a Belgian designer who had been at the helm for eight years.

Dior, meanwhile, has yet to divulge any plans regarding its creative leadership, and the firm continues to enjoy strong business momentum with its design teams under the creative leadership of Bill Gaytten, a longtime collaborator of Galliano’s. The company is said to be mulling continuing with a team approach, possibly adding some young, up-and-coming talents.

Dior had no comment on Wednesday.