Hervé Léger By Max Azria Fall 09 Collection NY Fashion Week (Hervé Léger Short History)

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You’re not supposed to walk the Red Carpet without wearing (at least once) a Hervé Léger! It’s like the skinny jeans of high fashion – you just can’t do without in the spotlight!

Doesn’t matter if you can pull the look or not, you look great in Hervé Léger just because it’s Hervé Léger! Ever since I could lay my eyes on one of the legendary bandage-dresses, I couldn’t think about anything else but Mummies wrapping! (don’t miss the rest of the story, the pictures and the video right after the jump!)

Herve Leger Max Azria FW 09 NYFW metallic

However, I didn’t really take the time to read a full know-how of the Mummification process until now. With that same old vision but seriously upgraded by the scientific reading I now have two versions for the Hervé Léger clothing technique: mummies vs. lingerie!

The ancient Egyptians dressed their mummies in linen wraps for several reasons – the bandages kept the body together, kept the moisture away from the desiccated body but most importantly, allowed the embalmers to keep the lifelike form as accurate as possible! Not to mention they also added pieces of jewelry or amulets in-between the wraps! (the amulets were supposed to help the deceased in the afterlife journey!).

Herve Leger Max Azria FW 09 NYFW black

Hervé Léger saw the sacred potential of the wraps and he used that to make his way in fashion. And right he was! The bandage dresses make women feel sacredly beautiful! After studying in Paris and working for Karl Lagerfeld, Diane von Furstenberg, Lanvin and others, he presented his first ready-to-wear collection in 1993.

He reportedly drew inspiration in the very fabrics, taking advantage of the elasticity of Lycra and spandex. He practically took the underwear and unashamedly took it to light, following the tight wraps of Azzedine Alaïa, the first to have presented the bandage dress concept to the world.

Herve Leger Max Azria FW 09 NYFW gray

Hervé Léger SA was sold to the mighty fashion group BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP in 1998. Ever since, Max Azria has taken the Hervé Léger design command remaining truthful to the bandages and thus making the maison’s name a sacred reference for glamourous and seductive prêt-a-porter.

What you might not know is that closely following the takeover of the major interests in Hervé Léger SA, the BCBG giant has cut the budget, a measure which Hervé Léger disapproved. He was fired, only 6 months after the takeover and he started designing for Wolford, but soon returned to fashion. (Wolford is an Austrian hosiery company that has become a legend in the matter, coincidentally, from the moment Hervé Léger magically touched the design panels chez Wolford!)

Herve Leger Max Azria FW 09 NYFW beige

Hervé Léger has opened a new store in Paris (32 rue Jacob in Saint Germain des Prés), in 2001 under the name Hervé L. Leroux with evening designs, faithful to the bandage concept, priced at around $7,000.

Fashion has its backstage moments… Which one of the Hervé Léger you find more inspiring? The Max Azria kind or the originals? (Even if Max Azria’s bandage designs are highly praised, this Fall Winter 2008/2009 Collection wasn’t all that inspired and inspiring for me. I only fell in love with the black metallic dresses – despite of their obvious non-bandage style)

(you can read more about the process of Mummification here, more about Azzedine Alaïa here and here, more about Hervé Léger here and here. More about the new fashion identity of Hervé Léger, Hervé L. Leroux here; more about Wolford here and here; you can see the rest of the Fall Winter 2008/2009 Hervé Léger by Max Azria collection here, the infamous model falls here) (photos via style.com)


#1 Ellington on 02.21.09 at 6:34 pm

Some of those dress are rather cute and don’t look too much like tensor bandages at all.
As for the mummification process the modern lady celebrities who wear the mummy type dresses should be glad that they don’t pull their brain out via their nose. The Ancient Egyptians thought that the brain was a useless organ so it was not worth saving in a canopy jar, but then again maybe some of them did get their brains pulled out! ; )

#2 Adriana on 02.22.09 at 9:25 am

Oh, I’ve to confess that I’ve only seen Marc Jacobs’ show until now. Here on Stylefrizz. I’ve other things on my mind. Also viewing all the Oscar nominated movies…..and tonight is the night….in the middle of the night here and I’ve just counted 10, yes Ï’d see 10(!) times ‘read here’ LOL in your piece Kpriss!

First impression, I like a lot off these dresses. I like especially the ones with sleeves and the power shoulders. I love that look, it suits me in many ways especially at the moment. Plus I’ve always loved calves high boots like I’ve seen in this show. Tight dresses are great. Don’t eat pasta though, even not us skinny ones, before show them off.

I’d never understood the Acient Egyptians thought the brain was a useless organ. Because they were so brilliant at a lot off points …..

#3 Ellington on 02.22.09 at 5:02 pm

Hi Adriana! Have fun watching the Oscars!
The Ancient Egyptians thought that the brain was useless because they did not believe that it was where thoughts, memories or ideas came from. The liver, the intestines (upper and lower) and the lungs were considered vital for ones after life. The were guarded over by the four sons of Horus, and placed in Canopic or Canopy jars with the image of the heads of Horus’s sons. The four jars where then placed with the mummified body along with the various items the deceased needed in the afterlife. Only the very wealthy could afford the mummification process.
Just a bit of information that my museum curatorial geek self wanted to share! : )

#4 Adriana on 02.23.09 at 10:24 am

Ellington, as you may have noticed I had a lot off fun watching the Oscars.
Of course I knew that only the wealthy could afford the mummification process as in all great Empires, also ours, certain things are only for the happy few. I’ve once read this all but forgot about it…..so, keep on being that “museum curatorial geek” at times, I love it.

I’ve a Roman history “obsession” by the way.

#5 AnneLouise from Florida USA on 02.23.09 at 10:30 am

Sorry girls, but those models are sick looking.

#6 kpriss on 03.01.09 at 3:31 pm

I think there was something about the heart being the actual brain in the human body… You should know better Ellington – if I’m wrong, please tell me so! However, they were impressive, the Egyptians!

Adriana, I hope I’ll find a pretext to talk about Romans these days! I’d love to see your history-passionate self taking the stage! :*

(lol! 10 times?)

…you asked me in one of your comments if I was going to watch TV for the Oscars. no-oh! I was on Internet the entire night! :)

#7 Ellington on 03.01.09 at 4:08 pm

Yes Kpriss they did believe that the heart was the centre of all things, love, and intelligence. Its also the reason why when people marry they place their wedding bands on the ring finger of the left hand. It was believed that that finger was a direct line to the heart and love.

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