February 05, 2006
This season, Max Azria erased the BCBG name from his runway collection, saying that he wanted to distinguish the higher-priced clothes he shows during fashion week from his more commercial line. The designer is clearly trying to stretch himself, and on the evidence of this presentation, there is some strain involved in that process. The show was nominally about beatniks, but as the intricate invitation hinted, it was also intended to be an exploration of the ways origami can be applied to fabric. Azria was thorough in his studies, applying the technique to everything from spaghetti-strap dresses with puckered bodices worn over turtlenecks to a snappy gray wool jacket with intricately formed pockets. At times, though, he got lost in the folds. This was partly due to how the girls were styled. The worst offenders were the ungainly knee-highs and the layered, droopy knits of indefinable shape, a no-no in a season where defined volumes are key.