STOP AND GO: A bevy of French actresses turned out for the debut collection by Maxime Simoens at Leonard on Monday. Mélanie Thierry, Karin Viard and Mareva Galanter posed for photographers, seemingly oblivious to rumors that Simoens will shortly be leaving the brand, as reported in WWD on Monday. “Women love his clothes and he’s super charming,” said Thierry. “I don’t know him very well, but he dressed me recently and I really liked the dress.”

Leonard managing director Nathalie Tribouillard-Chassaing appeared flustered when asked to confirm reports that Simoens is departing. “I don’t know what these rumors are about. This is not at all topical. We are doing the show, and we’ll see what happens afterward,” she said. Questioned backstage before models went out on the catwalk, Simoens was equally evasive. “There is nothing to comment because we are in negotiations. For the moment, nothing is happening. So when something happens, we’ll talk about it,” he said.

The designer was much happier discussing how Elle U.S.’ style director, Kate Lanphear, inspired his creations, and even the models’ asymmetric hairstyles. She appeared surprised by the homage. “I can’t sort of believe it,” said Lanphear. “I’m from the mountains in Virginia, so it’s a great honor to be the inspiration for anything here. I usually can’t even believe that I’m here in Paris, let alone this. It’s come as quite a shock.”

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