PARIS — Guy Laroche has joined the ranks of brands switching designers, WWD has learned.
Richard René, a veteran of brands including Hermès and Jean Paul Gaultier, has taken the helm of the label and is slated to show his first collection on Sept. 27 during Paris Fashion Week. He succeeds American designer Adam Andrascik, who had held the post since 2015.
“I grew up with the house of Guy Laroche symbolizing for me a kind of luxury and liberty. Guy Laroche was a bold fashion designer, a forerunner and he lived in a very liberated manner, just like the women he dressed. This is the spirit I would like to trigger again and that seems to matter more than ever today,” René said.
The designer, who since 2014 had been creative director of French luxury swimwear brand Vilebrequin, said he looked forward to turning his hand again to women’s ready-to-wear. René, who produced a collection under his own name between 2004 and 2010, is known for his mix of minimalism and irreverence.
“It’s classic with a twist, but very simple. It’s all about cut and material,” he told WWD. “In general, I prefer taking away rather than adding.”
René plans to present fewer than 20 looks, exclusively in black and white, during the display scheduled to take place at the Guy Laroche store on Rue François 1er in Paris in front of around 200 guests. “I really wanted a radical collection,” he said, noting black and white were the colors favored by the brand’s founder.
The collection will carry a whiff of Mireille Darc, the French actress who died last week at the age of 79. An icon of Sixties and Seventies French cinema, she famously wore a scoop-backed Guy Laroche gown in one of her films.
René said he wasn’t inspired specifically by that dress, which was featured in an exhibition at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs last year, but by all the other outfits Laroche designed for the actress.
René began his career in 1994 at Hermès as assistant to then-creative director Claude Brouet. Between 1997 and 2004, he worked at Jean Paul Gaultier as assistant on haute couture collections and accessories. He returned to the brand from 2007 to 2011 as designer of men’s collections and women’s pre-collections.
Having swept several prizes at the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography in 2004, René launched his own brand, showing intermittently as a guest member on the French capital’s couture calendar until the label folded in 2010.