With the bandage dress as a baseline, the question each season at Herve Leger is in which direction will Max and Lubov Azria spin their tale. To their credit, the Azrias manage to take something that could feel a bit like boiling an egg—a little softer one season, a little harder another—and nudge it forward onto new ground. This season's theme delved into the darker side of equestrienne motifs. These girls were more horse than rider, with leather harnesses fastened around shoulders and waists and even long, straight, blunt-cut ponytails swinging from side to side.

In fact, there was a strain of mythical woman-as-beast in the body-hugging outerwear—a developing non-frock category—of python-stamped black leather trimmed with swaths of wild black fur. What felt newest in the dresses were the patterns and prints—an op-arty ombre beat out an odd chain-link jacquard—as well as the pleating, which gave the usual shrink-wrapped silhouette a chic modicum of freedom. You could see the long-sleeve diamond-pattern dress with a flippy skirt in look four, for instance, attracting a whole new customer. That's the kind of uncharted territory any designer can get behind.