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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



.

BCBG Max Azria: Glamorous Understatement

Godfrey Deeny
September 10th, 2010 @ 11:32 AM - New York

If any label is a bellwether of what’s next in modern glamour, it is arguably BCBG Max Azria, an edgily minimalist collection whose show in New York on the morning of Friday, Sept. 10 was a clever warning to expect understatement to be the leit motif for next spring’s styles.

The BCBG Max Azria Group's successful junior line is in many ways the more adventurous kid sibling, with a larger dash of fashion forward wit that makes its runway shows often memorable affairs.

Staged in the Theatre, the largest catwalk space inside the custom-built show space of Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, this spring 2011 collection show began brightly with a series of white crepe and silk seersucker sheathes and embroidered mini dresses that were sexy without ever being cheap.

BCBG Max Azria’s design team of designer and CEO Max Azria and his muse and wife, Lubov, then segued into some semi-sheer layered looks, that were suitably delicate and whispered good taste. Making sexy dresses that never tumble into vulgarity is a delicate balancing act that this duo always manages to bring off, to their credit. A doubly tricky maneuver when most skirts end seven inches above the knee, as they did in this collection.

“We wanted beautiful clothes that were easy to wear and understand,” said Azria backstage post-show in his native French language.

The designers' other smart trick was their toned down palette made of the sort of faded pastels that one associates with packaging in a drugstore – sandy yellows, bright corals and ashy hazelnuts.

On the catwalk, Model Shu-Pei gained the distinction of wearing the show’s two best looks. Her opening ensemble, a silvery moonlight silk mini dress cut with just the right dash of asymmetry summed up the delicate wit of this collection, while her second outing in a black silk dress, laser cut with an industrial pattern, was a fab head turner – one of those looks which make scores of women ever so envious, and all in one evening.

The casting overall, though composed of younger, less known models, was impeccable, thanks to casting director Russell Marsh. A Briton who picks the models for Prada shows, Marsh is generally regarded as fashion’s most influential casting boss. Adding to the successful moment was the smartly judged styling by Laura Ferrara, who wisely stripped the looks down – there were no handbags, bracelets or jewelry of any sort. Though the same could not be said of soundtrack, a rather hackneyed remix of syrupy ballads that did not do justice to a show that elegantly announced that exaggeration and hyper volumes suddenly seem passé in fashion.

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