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Formerly Léger, Now Leroux, Comes to U.S.

PARIS -- Herve L. Leroux, the former Herve Leger, is coming to America.<P>For the first time since owner Max Azria ousted him from his namesake house in 1999, Leroux's collection will be sold in the U.S. It will retail exclusively in Manhattan at...

PARIS — Herve L. Leroux, the former Herve Leger, is coming to America.

For the first time since owner Max Azria ousted him from his namesake house in 1999, Leroux’s collection will be sold in the U.S. It will retail exclusively in Manhattan at Bergdorf Goodman for fall.

To mark the occasion, Leroux will host a trunk show at Bergdorf’s June 12 and 13. It will feature his couture and ready-to-wear, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

The occasion represents a homecoming for Leroux.

“Back when I was still Herve Leger, America made 60 percent of sales,” explained Leroux from his Left Bank studio here. “Now, I’m coming back to America. My style has always been appreciated there. I’m rather delighted.”

Leroux said he has spent the last few years getting back on his feet. After his ouster, he opened a small shop-cum-atelier at 32 Rue Jacob in April 2000. Last year, he hosted a press presentation of his new brand for the first time. Retailers were also invited.

But the timing was inauspicious. After Sept. 11, the business climate turned sour.

“I’ve been keeping up with private orders,” said Leroux. “But clients haven’t been traveling much. We’ve been working, but we’ve filled a lot of our private orders through photographs.”

Leroux has mostly concentrated on eveningwear, his forte. As Herve Leger, his trademark was form-fitting band dresses.

“I’ve moved on from that style,” said Leroux. “I still have a penchant for the body, and crafting dresses that glorify a woman’s body.”

The collection that will be seen at Bergdorf’s includes bustier dresses with taffeta draping, dramatic cutaway gowns and more simple jersey pieces.

For its part, Bergdorf’s approached Leroux “because there is a gap in the eveningwear market,” according to Yvette Siebel, president of 1-Of-A-Kind Inc., a creative consulting firm to the retailer.

Siebel said she has plans to help Leroux increase distribution in the U.S., starting for spring. Siebel, who also does a luxury line of reworked vintage pieces, has signed a deal with Leroux to take care of his U.S. distribution.

“Herve never went out of style,” she said. “He got dumped on.”

She added: “He was big on the red carpet with Oscar contenders in his day. Just you wait, I foresee him back on the red carpet before too long.””