About

Guy Laroche was a French fashion designer and founder of the eponymous company.

Guy Laroche was born in La Rochelle, near Bordeaux, France in 1923. He went to Paris at an early age and worked with a milliner.

After World War II, he spent 2 years in New York as a milliner on 7th Avenue. On his return to Paris, in 1949, he joined JEAN DESSES where he worked for 8 years.

In 1955, he visited the U.S. to investigate new ready-to-wear manufacturing methods. 1956 or 1957, he founded a high-fashion atelier at 37 avenue Franklin Roosevelt, Paris. In his first collection that was favorably received, he reintroduced vibrant colors such as pink, orange, coral, topaz and turquoise. He was known for his skilful cutting and tailoring. His early work was influenced by Balenciaga, but he later gave that formality a lively freshness, cultivating popularity with younger women. His clothes also featured plunging neck and back lines. Known as being humble and gracious—as opposed to the haughty nature of most Parisian designers—he designed haute-couture but practical clothing for women.

He is particular remembered for his empire-line dresses with material gently gathered into raised waistbands, as well as his tailored pantsuits.

Several well-known designers have worked under Laroche. In 1957, Azzedine Alaia joined him for several years, from 1955 to 1958 Valentino worked there, and Issey Miyake was also a designer for Laroche from 1966 to 1968.

Guy Laroche died in 1989 at the age of 66.

The house of Guy Laroche now has 15 boutiques and 70 licenses around the world.

In 1993 Michel Klein began designing for the house of Laroche. In 1997, he left and was followed by Israeli-born designer Alber Elbaz, who left to go to the house of Yves St. Laurent in 1998. Three other designers followed him.

The designer at Laroche today is Laetitia Hecht (born Paris 1968). She has been designing for the house since December 2001. Laetitia is known for her innovative and imaginative designs and she has reinvigorated the label. Just in time, because Laroche was in danger of falling off the fashion radar.

In September 2004, the Hong-Kong based textile group YGM Trading Ltd., bought the house of Laroche and to re-vitalize the label, appointed Herve Leroux as Designer. Born in 1957, he is a well-experienced designer.

The Look

His first collection was one of subtle sophistication, reminiscent of Balenciaga's restrained elegance: simple tops that spread into huge bouffant skirts with baroque inspired, twisted drapes, or relaxed short evening dresses in black silk chiffon, with elegant capes bordered in satin ribbon. Later collections were more feminine, fun, and younger in feel: short puffed hems and schoolgirl dresses or delicate gathered drapes and scallop-effect necklines. Guy Laroche clothes were particularly noted for their skillful cutting and tailoring.

Who Wears It

Hillary Swank, Kristen Davis

Perfumes

1966 Fidji (W)
1970 Eau Folle (W)
1972 Drakkar pour homme
1978 J'Ai Ose(W)
1978 J'Ai Ose(Baby)
1982 Drakkar Noir (M)
1986 Clandestine (W)
1986 Clandestine (M)
1993 Horizon
1998 Drakkar Dynamik (M)
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