Calling out fashion week attendees in bare legs and open-toe shoes amid New York City's slush has become a bit of a social media blood sport this season. What would the practicality police say about the peep-toe, thigh-high boots that marched down the Hervé Léger runway today? Ridiculous in their open-toe exposure, or practical in their sheathlike protection of the leg? Regardless, Hervé Léger has never been about utility. It is about one thing, and that is sex appeal, delivered via the bandage dress. The line stayed true to itself for Fall 2014, although there were variations. Several skirts reached the knee in a fit-and-flare silhouette, instead of hugging every curve; pleats, and even a few hems, were split into carwash-style strips that swung around models' legs. Those dresses in particular will be perfect for dancing.
Elsewhere, there was a cage-corset story that didn't always translate, along with some cutouts that gaped below belly buttons—more windows than keyholes. More successful in the skin-exposure department were long-sleeved crop tops paired with high-waisted skirts to reveal fashion's current favorite swath of flesh: the upper midriff. Silver and gunmetal beading further contoured several silhouettes, and jacquard knits gave some bandage fabrics geometrically patterned surfaces. Others looked almost reptilian, but the most unexpected animal appeal came from glossy black feathers trimming dresses' shoulders and peeking out from petticoats. (A friend quipped that those shoulders recalled The Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen, and she wasn't wrong.)
Backstage after the show, creative director Lubov Azria may have been her own best advertisement, wearing a perforated black top of Léger's signature fabric that fit more like a sweatshirt than a bandage, with a matching A-line skirt. She said she was interested in transformation this season, the way a video game heroine begins as a digital character and then "turns into a bird, then a fox," as she moves through different rooms. That went some way toward explaining the superheroine appearance of a single catsuit, as well as the fact that those feathered pieces could be transformed, or rather, removed, via zippers. "You can't dry clean things with feathers!" said Azria. Perhaps there was some practicality here after all.