Hervé Léger by Max Azria touted in the show's production notes that we'd be taken on a sultry Southern tour, with embroidery, patchwork and appliqué, all inspired by “the remarkable women of Gee's Bend, Alabama,” who are known for their stunner quilts. They're less known for their dominatrix garb — just guessing here — but maybe Azria knows something about those sweet ladies that we don't.
This is the south of quilt makers? Where are the magnolia blossoms and mint juleps?
Nope, the Southern hospitality here has been drowned out by "50 Shades of Grey.”
To be fair, there are some pretty dresses in this collection for the Madeleine Stowe set — like a sapphire and Pacific blue high-neck dress with passementerie, or another bandage dress with passementerie and pleats in shades of “bare” and “manila.”
But it was a little tough to see those through the sea of harder, heavier looks, encumbered by S&M-ish leather regalia that was more dungeon- than luncheon-appropriate. Several dresses had a “corset harness” — like an abbreviated vest that squeezed in at the waist. Then there was the “front neck harness,” which was essentially a dog collar type band of leather that wrapped round the neck, attached to a long strap down the front, then to a belt contraption. But…really, Max...you want us to appreciate the patchwork fabric technique or the embroidery underneath all that?
Undoubtedly, such goofs on S&M gear will be immediately detached when department stores place orders. And there’s no law that says you can’t have a little fun with your fashion show. But this accessorizing made it harder to see … the dresses.
Truth be told, the leather pieces, when they were in saddle shades rather than black, seemed more appealing, more for the horsy than the “horsing around” set. The bigger question for the brand is: Can it survive now that Stowe, a star of ABC’s “Revenge” (that guilty pleasure series set in the Hamptons) was seemingly killed off in last season’s finale. She wore so many Léger dresses on that show she was like an unofficial brand ambassador. Now what will they do? Time to crack the whip, apparently.