HERVE LEGER STORY

Herve Leger Was The French Couturier Who Created The Bandage Dresses – Hailed As One Of The Iconic Dresses Of All Time, It Made Its Way From Catwalks To The High Street.

Made For Women With “With a Bosom, a Waist And Curves”, The Dress Became a Hit With The “Body Conscious” Hollywood Jet Set Of The 1990s And Noughties And Brought a New Sexiness To The Catwalk, Personified By Cindy Crawford, Plus a Plethora Of Actresses.

Liz Hurley Was Also One Of The Early Adopters Of The Herve Leger Dresses
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With Success, Leger Needed To Expand His Business Into Ready-To-Wear In Order To Compete In The 1990s. Financial Backing Came From The Canadian Drinks Conglomerate Seagram. Initially, All Seemed Well With Leger Producing 8,000 Pieces a Season, As Against 160 Two Years Earlier. However, With More And More Investment Forthcoming, Leger’s Holding Diminished Until Seagram Owned 95 Per Cent Of The Business.

To His Consternation, It Then Sold The Company To La-Based Max Azria’s Bcbg. Within a Year He And Azria Had Fallen Out. Leger Found Himself Fired From His Own Label And Lost The Rights To The Leger Name.

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Born In 1957, In The Small Town Of Bapaume, 20 Miles South Of Arras, Northern France, Herve Peugnet Left Home At 18 And Headed To Paris To Study Sculpture And Art History At The Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Beaux-Arts. After Just a Year, However, He Dropped Out, Later Recalling, “It Was The Seventies, And Everyone Was On Strike”.

Wanting a Job That Made Use Of His Hands And His Curiosity About The Properties All Types Of Fibres, He Embarked Upon a Hairdressing Apprenticeship – Effectively Training With a Difficult Fibre. Soon He Was Working Backstage At Fashion Shows For Houses Such As Chloe And Ysl. He Was Taught Himself To Make Hats And Dresses, And Secured Contract Work For Lanvin, Swarovski And Costume Designer Tan Giudicelli.

It Was a Meeting At a Chloe Dinner Party In 1980, With German Couturier Karl Lagerfeld, However, Which Was To Change His Direction And His Life. “The Kaiser” Wanted a New Assistant And Asked To See Peugnet’s Sketches. Although Less Than Impressed, Lagerfeld Took Him On. The Pair Work Together At Fendi In Rome And Then Back At Chanel In Paris.
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Four Years Later, Peugnet Was Ready To Set Up His Own Business. On The Advice Of Lagerfeld, Claiming It Was Too Difficult For Anglophones To Pronounce, Peugnet Changed His Name To Leger, Taken From The French Word “Legerete” – Lightness.

The Label Herve Leger Sale Launched In 1985 And, By The Late 1980s, The Bandage Dress Had Arrived, Which Appealed Because Of Its Tightness And Ability To Hold The Figure Positively, In And Up – This Allowed Unrestricted Poses For The Cameras. His First Full Collection In This Style Was Shown In 1991.

The Inception Of “The Bandage Dress Was a Simple One,” He Once Recalled. “One Day In a Factory, I Found Some Bands That Were Headed For The Garbage. As a Hat Maker, They Gave Me The Idea Of Taking Those Bands And Putting Them Next To One Another As One Does Making a Hat, Using The Elastic Properties Of The Material (Rather Than Draping) To Provide Its Form.

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