Maxime Simoens unveiled his debut collection for Leonard in a highly charged atmosphere, as the front row buzzed with talk that his first showing for the house would also be his last, as reported by WWD on Monday. While that news was not confirmed, it was clear that Simoens has stirred things up at Leonard, which is famed for its colorful prints. For starters, he hardly used any in his show. Instead, the house’s trademark Coptic pattern was worked into a black dévoré gown, while a Japanese blossom motif was embroidered on a nude chiffon blouse. Meanwhile, Leonard’s typical silk jersey numbers were virtually banished in favor of short and tight cocktail dresses and belted jackets best suited to the under-30 set. “I wanted to give it a rock ’n’ roll edge and to show that a Parisian woman could wear Leonard every day, and not necessarily just in the summer to go to Saint-Tropez,” Simoens explained. Were the label’s owners prepared for such a radical rejuvenation? Significantly, Leonard president Daniel Tribouillard broke a long-standing tradition by not taking a bow with the designer at the end of the show.



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