Such is the (sex) appeal of the bandage dress that Max Azria was not only able to wrangle a front row of starlets, including Ginnifer Goodwin, Rose McGowan, Mandy Moore, and Joy Bryant, but he also got them to show up bare-legged and dressed to the nines early on a winter Sunday morning. It's these fresh, oft-photographed faces, after all, that have launched the brand's revival.
The house was founded in 1985 by Léger, now known as Hervé L. Leroux, at about the same time that Azzedine Alaïa was also experimenting with the borrowed-from-the-Egyptians technique. Azria, who acquired the label in 1998 and took over the design reins last year, has now tasked himself with the challenge of showing that the concept still has legs in the twenty-first century.
He divided his show into two parts, dedicating the first half to looks that unmistakably had his own signature attached. How to update an icon? With beads and feathers, insets of cashmere, and scribblelike appliqué, evidently. Azria's simplest additions were the most successful: Dresses made with airbrushed and dip-dyed bands stood out, as did subtle caviar beading. A charcoal wool bubble-band dress and corselet pants took the formula refreshingly off the red carpet. On the other hand, looks featuring organza apron skirts or raised Poiret-rose beading left the models looking like they had escaped from the Moulin Rouge. The show closed with a satisfying parade of iconic minis in luxurious colors like teal and amethyst. That was what everyone came for, and it suggested that the best way to reinvent a classic may be to not mess with it all that much.