PARIS — Guy Laroche has parted ways with its designer of two years, Herve L. Leroux — formerly known as Herve Leger.

The divorce comes as Leroux was gaining momentum in his bid to give the dusty house more fashion relevance. He had succeeded to the extent that last year he achieved worldwide media attention after actress Hilary Swank dropped her plans to wear Calvin Klein and instead opted for a backless Laroche gown to pick up her best-actress Oscar.

Leroux said he would continue with his self-named couture house in Paris, and that he had several interior decorating projects waiting in the wings, including a luxury hotel in Mauritius.

“My house may be the smallest couture house in Paris, but it’s doing well,” said Leroux, noting that his client list includes Jemima Kahn, Celine Dion and Arielle Dombasle.

Leroux declined to comment on the reason for his split with Laroche, saying only that he had enjoyed the experience.

A spokesman for Laroche, which was purchased two years ago by China’s YGM Trading, said the house would now use a team approach. He said it would continue to show its fashions on the Paris runway.

Known for his sculptural gowns, Leroux was arguably the most successful designer for Laroche in the last few years, bringing to the house a sophisticated, Parisian flair.

Previous to Leroux, the last designer to catch the industry’s eye at Laroche was Alber Elbaz, who worked for the house from 1996 to 1998, and who is now at Lanvin.

This story first appeared in the July 5, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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