Young French designer Maxime Simoens began his role as Creative Director of Leonard last October, and showed his first collection for the brand for Fall/Winter 2012-2013.

His inspirations are derived from art, music, and movies from all eras and styles, and his striking collections tell stories full of icons and strong visuals, marked by structure refining the silhouettes, contrasts, embroidery, and printed optical illusions. Though not very well known, Simoens is considered a rising star in the fashion industry. In fact, WWD compares Simoens to Christian Dior’s successor, Yves Saint Laurent, who took over the house at the age of 21.

At just 27 years of age, Simoens also designs his own eponymous line, which he shows during Paris couture week. Simoens was also the first designer ever to have been accepted into the French Federation of Fashion (of which the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture is an entity) without having ever shown a collection.

Unfortunately for Leonard, Simeons’ first line for the luxury ready-to-wear label will also be his last. After many rumors that he had been snatched up by Dior to replace John Galliano, the new word around town is that he actually left to begin a namesake couture line! Whispers and rumors aside, one thing is for fact – Maxime Simeons will be ‘not very well known’ for not very much longer.