Guy Laroche was a French fashion designer and founder of the eponymous company. Before entering the industry in the 1940s, Guy Laroche had no formal training in fashion design. However, he soon built up a varied portfolio of experience, beginning with styling and millinery in New York followed by work in fashion and merchandising on Seventh Avenue. Returning to Paris he was offered a job as design assistant at the fashion house of Jean Dessés. Dessés was famous for designing the stole and distinctive draped chiffon evening gowns in striking colors. Laroche was involved in these innovations and in 1955 traveled to the U.S. to study new fabrication methods for ready-to wear.
In 1956 he founded a high-fashion atelier at 37 avenue Franklin Roosevelt, Paris. His first well received collection, reintroduced vibrant colors such as pink, orange, coral, topaz and turquoise. This collection, shown in his apartment, was one of subtle sophistication, reminiscent of Balenciaga's restrained elegance: simple tops that spread into huge bouffant skirts, or relaxed short evening dresses in black silk chiffon, with elegant capes. 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.
In 1961, he moved to larger quarters, a townhouse at 29 avenue Montaigne, Paris. He then opened a boutique there and introduced his first ready-to-wear collection. In 1966, Laroche introduced Fidji, his first women’s fragrance. He also began to design men's ready-to-wear and and opened the Guy Laroche Monsieur boutique. Licensed goods promoted the reputation of the Guy Laroche name internationally. Lingerie, nightwear, hats, ties, bags, scarves, and jersey knits were exported and sold in 250 boutiques worldwide.
Guy Laroche, the legendary designer, died in 1989, while his company struggled under successive designers, including Michael Klein, Elber Albaz, and Ronald van der Kemp. Albaz, widely credited with rejuvenating the company, left to head up Yves Saint Laurent in 1997. In November 2007, franco-Swedish designer Marcel Marongiu took over as Artistic Director of Guy Laroche.
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Vintage 1980s Guy Laroche Drop Waist Dress. Available on online at boroughvintage.com