PRÊT-À-PORTER FALL 2012
I’ve passed the Léonard boutique on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré countless times, and always admired the bold, Pucci-esque prints showcased in its windows. The styling was classic–perhaps overly so–but these were clothes I could make my own: easy to wear and to pack, and always reliable.
This season, Maxime Simoens was tapped to be the new artistic director chez Léonard, probably with the intent of infusing new blood into the label. Maxime is a darling of the new generation of designers, and he’s earned the fashion world’s respect with his collections for both the Prêt-à-Porter and the Haute Couture. Maxime has good ideas–but I felt, after seeing this défilé, that while putting his stamp on Léonard, he lost a bit of the brand’s DNA.
Maxime used a few prints, invoking classic Léonard–but many of the dresses were cut too short, and there were a few peplum jackets that looked unlikely to flatter the label’s mature clientele. Maxime said he wanted a bit of “rock & roll,” which may have been the problem: some items were pretty, but they seemed to have been designed for a different brand, with younger customers.
Not surprisingly, I soon learned that this was Maxime’s first and last show for Léonard; rumor now has him moving to Christian Dior, while Raffaele Borriello (formerly the artistic director for Requiem) will replace him at Léonard. Which is probably the better choice: Raffaele’s sensibility is more classic, with a modern touch. Of course, no one ever knows for sure what will happen in Fashion’s endless game of musical chairs–only time will tell!
Photographs by Stéphane Israël