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Herve Leger by Max Azria – Slashes and Slits

Godfrey Deeny
February 15th, 2009 @ 5:44 PM - New York

There is an acknowledged tendency for critics to always lament the departure of a founding designer from their own brand and condemn his or her successors as unworthy usurpers. And it’s an inclination that should be resisted when considering the fall 2009 collection of Herve Leger, whose successor Max Azria sent out a compilation of clothes that not only firmly respected the DNA of the brand but also injected a dose of the new and novel.

Leger, for the uninitiated, was famous for one very specific look, which he is credited with inventing, the “bandage dress,” a taut cocktail dress composed of bands of stretch fabrics.

Azria, whose company acquired the house of Herve Leger in 1998, took that idea to new places, by using patchwork mixes of boucle wools, velvet moiré and a series of great distressed snakeskin finishes.

He also updated the Leger canon with all sort of incisions, slashes and slits that injected a healthy dose of sauciness into the clothes. Standouts included the tautest of cocktails cut open-shouldered and finished with just right amount of beading, basket weave body huggers in black and burnished metal and a black gun-metal snakeskin skinny mini dress.

These are clothes which one cannot stroll around in; they are so high octane they make women want to, well, strut, which is what every model did. However, some absurdly high shoes were so large several models ended up collapsing on the catwalk.

The collection itself was a stylish success, and a respectful re-interpretation of Leger’s great contribution to fashion. It all made for polished performance in the show tents of IMG’s Bryant Park complex this Sunday, Feb. 15, the third day of the eight-day New York Fashion Week.

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