Véronique Leroy: An original accent Fashion - 21 March 2016
You can still detect a hint of an accent. As is the case for all these Liegeois who are totally immersed in a universe -in this case, the Parisian fashion scene – without having completely turned their backs on their roots. A portrait of the most Parisian of Belgians. Or should that be the other way around?
She studied at the studio Berçot in Paris. "For me, leaving Liège, Belgium, was already a dream come true. The dream of finally moving towards my life goal, towards this profession I had always dreamed of. It wasn’t easy settling in to life in Paris but I was so focused on this goal that I was patient. I wanted to succeed at all costs." This tenacity is found in each stage of Véronique Leroy’s career. After her training at the studio Berçot, she was spotted and hired by the company Alaïa. In 1991, however, she decided to go it alone. And while she may have decided to do so in Paris rather than in Belgium, she readily admits that she is part of a certain Belgian current. "This dual identity is very much what makes me what I am. My fashion training was decidedly Parisian. I am a product of the French school. It is this teaching that has defined how I create a garment. But my take on things and my attitude are completely Belgian. The offbeat approach, the openness, the individuality of creation. The Margiela legacy no doubt."
A Belgian take
Even if Véronique Leroy has seen her childhood dream come true, her attitude towards the profession remains pragmatic. "The team around me plays a key role in the development of the collections, their sale, production ... Without this team, my design house wouldn’t exist. My employees are designers, but also workshop mangers, model makers or sales reps. They are passionate about what they do and their expertise is invaluable." Appreciating the contribution of all the professions in the fashion business could be one of Véronique Leroy’s warhorses. As is her questioning of certain aspects of the sector. When it comes to the importance or not of being featured in the official calendar of fashion week, Véronique Leroy has the same attitude as John Paul Lespagnard, another Liege-born designer. Like him (without any concertation), the designer does not really see the need to invest in expensive and logistically complicated catwalk shows. "For a design house such as mine, organising a show is a huge investment. What is presented to the press and buyers is already on the web at the end of the show. As for the clothes, they only reach the shops months afterwards”.
This long and counter-productive delay prompts Véronique to focus increasingly on photos of her collections and pre-collections, a work she performs in collaboration with the Belgian designer Benoit Bethume. "Benoit's a friend. We have the same view of fashion, but also of life. His vision is in line with my own, but the fact that he is from outside the company allows him to breathe new life into the collection. The silhouettes and styles we create shape the Véronique Leroy image." The Belgian-Parisian has many projects in the pipeline, particularly the development of her brand, which is why she recruited a new financial director last year. But she is also on the lookout for new premises for her Paris store. "Since the closure of the premises on the rue d’Alger, we are looking around for just the right place. The role of a store is not only to showcase the brand. For us it is also a way to understand who the Véronique Leroy woman actually is. I create clothes whose subtleties and finishing details are hidden. To see them, you must try them and consult the shop assistants in our store or at the multi-brand stores where we are distributed. This particular importance that Véronique Leroy grants to all employees attests once again to the decidedly human dimension of her business. She may no longer be a pure product of Liège, or even of Belgium, but, in this respect at least, some accents never change.