Herve Leger founder Herve L. Leroux has died, aged 60. The Federation of Fashion and Ready-to-Wear Couturiers and Fashion Designers, the governing body of France's fashion industry, announced Leroux's passing on Friday. No other details about his death have been released. However, Burlesque performer Dita Von Teese has led tributes, taking to Instagram to post a photo of the designer and an emotional note.
"Very sad that we are forced to say farewell to the genius @hervelegerleroux," she wrote. "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."
Dita Von Teese in one of his designs
Leroux started out his career as Herve Leger, and studied sculpture in Paris and worked as a hairstylist before he was discovered by Karl Lagerfeld, and acted as the German couturier's design assistant at Fendi and Chanel. The designer set out on his own in 1985, setting up a small studio in Paris, and winning acclaim in the 1990s for his striking bandage dresses.
Later in the decade, Leroux lost control of the Herve Leger company and the commercial use of the name, with the brand being purchased by the BCBG Max Azria group.
Accordingly, he went on to found his own independently-financed couture house, Herve L. Leroux, delivering his first dresses for spring 2000. In 2006, Leroux revealed in an interview for Style.com that it was Lagerfeld who had "christened" his friend and former colleague with a new name.
"He told me, 'Call yourself Leroux because your hair is red - not as red as it was, because you are older - but anyway it works, and everyone will know who you are,'" the designer shared.
Under the Leroux label, the Bapaume-born fashion star refined the art of draping jersey into goddess gowns and ultra-feminine cocktail dresses, with clients including Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams and Celine Dion. And as creative director of Paris-based house Guy Laroche from 2004-2006, he dressed Hilary Swank for her 2005 Best Actress Oscar win in a memorable backless midnight-blue jersey gown.
Leroux joined the Paris couture calendar in January 2013 as a guest member.