Namesake for the fashion design house of Guy Laroche was born in La Rochelle, France in 1921. Starting out his career honing the skills of a milliner. Millinery involves the entire scope of hat making from design to marketplace. Typically milliners were female which says a lot about Guy Laroche’s character and how much courage it took for him to set his destiny in motion.
Guy Laroche fashion career started during the onset of ready-to-wear fashion which steered away from the handmade and very expensive, inaccessible Haute Couture. The utility aspects of the how the clothes were made in factories led him to an esteemed job with Jean Dessès from 1949-1955. In 1955 Laroche branched off opening his first boutique in Paris.
Guy Laroche was known to be different from other designers with a more humble and approachable attitude toward Haute Couture. A brief description of his early women’s collections would be starkly colorful in a pleasant way compared with a more drab, darker feeling to the fashion scene of the 1960’s and into the 70’s. With few exceptions until Gianni Versace brought glitz and glam back into fashion as it was in the roaring 20’s the industry was stodgy catering only to extremely wealthy or famous.
Laroche it seems the versatile utilitarian aspect of what women wore was important. A very empathetic and feminist way of looking through the eyes of the (basically slave) wives who toiled the day away for her husband, yet like a doll was still expected to look and feel good. Really if it were not for Laroche’s innate talent for finding small details like matching patterns exactly and skillfully folding seams with such craft he stood out as Haute Couture.
Haute Couture or high fashion dressmaking has standards and distinct rules for qualification which Laroche just did naturally. For me when reading these aspects of Guy Laroche’s career it gave me a clear indication between what is natural talent and genius compared with learning ro perfect the same skills. Some folks just have it =)
Being a very innovative character Laroche ushered in the concept of separates for women’s clothing. For example, having a seperate shirt from skirt from shirt instead of a one piece dress.
No doubt still concerned with the active and often overwhelming duties of being a woman this allowed for more flexibility in attire. Creating his first women’s perfume in 1966 called Fidji that same year doing first men’s collection. Eventually branching out into men’s colognes. It was a pleasure to learn who made the scent I so often sported back in the day Drakkar Noir =)
List of Perfumes/Colognes Laroche Created:
After Guy Laroche’s death in 1989 the company continued to go strong having several esteemed designers also being a member of the very exclusive Chambre syndicale de la haute couture. In 2004 a Hong Kong based trading group YGM Trading LTD. bought the brand. Hillary Swank and Kristen Davis are known for wearing Guy Laroche.
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