Hervé L. Leroux, creator of the bandage dress and founder of Hervé Leger, has passed away at 60 years old. The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode announced his death today.
The French fashion designer met Karl Lagerfeld in the early ’80s, and worked as his assistant at Fendi and Chanel before launching Hervé Leger in 1985. It was here that he created the bandage dress, a bodycon silhouette that launched his brand into international fame, as models and celebrities sported the design through the ’90s and 2000s. A 1993 runway review called the dresses Leroux’s “specialty,” describing them as as “elastic strips of fabric sewn together to make girdle-tight dresses” and even nicknamed them “the sexy mummy look.”
Even with his own label, Leroux still continued to work as a freelance designer for Lanvin and designed accessories for labels like Swarovski, according to his official bio. He also notably designed stage and ballet costumes through the ’90s and made ready-to-wear, swimwear and hosiery for Wolford at the end of the decade.
In 1999, BCBG Max Azria acquired the Hervé Leger brand and Leroux lost the commercial rights to his name. However, he continued designing dresses for celebrities like Cate Blanchett, Taylor Swift and Jessica Chastain.
His longtime client Dita Von Teese posted a heartfelt tribute to the designer on Instagram today. “He made the most exquisite dresses that showcased a woman’s beauty, rather than distracting from it,” she wrote.
Very sad that we are forced to say farewell to the genius @hervelegerleroux. I’m so grateful to have called him my friend after being introduced as “the ultimate” by @suzannevonaichinger and @alimahdaviparis. He made the most exquisite dresses that showcased a woman’s beauty, rather than distracting from it. I’ll always treasure my afternoons in his atelier just next to @maisonladuree, trying on dress after dress, really just for the fun of it. Hervé would exclaim “THIS dress, this dress is for YOU!” …and occasionally, “…non, not this one. NEXT!!” We would have the best time, I honestly could have only ever worn his dresses. @hervelegerleroux IS Herve Léger (he had to change his name and start over) and he is the inventor and only true master of the iconic bandage dress. And I’d say he was the only dressmaker that could accomplish a truly modern Madame Grès goddess gown. I loved him for his wit, his candor, his sublime elegance and of course, his talent, which, came from authentic obsession, with no care for the commerciality of fashion. I’m so sad to see him go, and so abruptly. We’ve lost one of the fashion greats. My heart breaks for his constant companion, our dear Jocelyn @hervelegersister Thank you, Dear Hervé, for all of it. Rest in glamour, you’ll never be forgotten. #herveleger #herveleroux
The designer opened a new label (with a Parisian boutique) under his own name, Hervé L. Leroux, in 2000. Under this line, the couturier founded a new dress staple, the draped jersey dress—an elegant departure from the skin-tight silhouette of the bandage dress. He entered the couture calendar in 2013.
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US