PARIS — Hervé L. Leroux is back for fall 2020. The upscale women’s label, on hiatus following Leroux’s decision to shutter his Parisian boutique and his subsequent death in 2017, will return to ready-to-wear under the creative direction of Jocelyne Caudroy, the late designer’s sister.
Caudroy, who worked in various capacities with Leroux for three decades, said the decision to step into the role had been an emotional but natural one. “Hervé left a fantastic heritage [of sketches and unfinished works]. When the project was suggested, I thought of Virginie Viard and how she had worked alongside Karl Lagerfeld. I accepted because this way, I can preserve the way Hervé worked. To continue, when given the opportunity, is important because this heritage lives within us,” she said.
Production will be done in France, using manufacturers and suppliers with whom Leroux had developed fabrics and colors throughout the years, while former studio staff will return to work for the brand. “This is an ambitious project but one where we are taking the time to do things right, to rebuild this couture house founded by Hervé and Jocelyne. It had to feel natural but also be done in the right way, with the right people,” said the brand’s general manager Jacques-Emmanuel Falempin, a veteran business consultant who is a long-time adviser to Leroux and Caudroy. The relaunch was made possible thanks to private investors he described as “having been close to the brand for 25 years — more partners than classic investors.”
Caudroy’s first design is a dress consisting of a tomato red draped bodice and a contrasting purple bandage pencil skirt that blends the figure-defining “bandage” work, invented in the Nineties under Leroux’s then-named Hervé Léger. (The designer lost the commercial use of his name in 1999 after BCBG Max Azria bought the brand.)
“When I’m asked where the inspiration comes from, I can only say from the heavens,” she said. “I’m not inventing anything. I took his sketches, the notes on them, things that he wanted to do and didn’t have time to work on. I’m just following a movement that guides me, although as a woman, I introduced ways that I would compose my own wardrobe, with multiple wear options.” On the racks were a back-baring blouse with trailing drapes that nodded to a dress worn by Hilary Swank, high-neck draped tops, variations on the house signature curve-skimming dresses, or a pleated jersey column that looked made for longtime client Dita Von Teese.
Retail prices will range from 1,500 euros to 7,000 euros for the Atelier line, which goes from daywear to floor-skimming evening gowns, while the separates from the four-piece Voyage capsule will start around 850 euros. Both lines will be presented to buyers during Paris’s March market week, while campaign images by French photographic duo Tania & Vincent will be presented to the press.
Among other plans for the house are a collaboration with bag designer Renaud Pellegrino, slated to make its debut in the first half of the year, and a made-to-measure service.