BCBG and Herve' Leger are both owned by Max Azria, the L.A.-based designer and brand king. His wife Lubov does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to designing, and that's a good thing - they do two fully different collections of clothes for fall, spring, and resort - that's a lot of designing. So they don't get a lot of downtime at New York Fashion Week - or any other week, as it happens.
BCBG showed Thursday, while Herve' Leger showed today, Saturday. BCBG's spring show was inspired by the great photographer Helmut Newton and the high contrast of his black and white photography. The dresses were mostly in crepe in longer lengths - between the knee and the ankle - and had an Asian feel, in tiny prints in weatherworm patinas of white, talc, peony, dusty pink and coral - all very desert-y.
Most of them were shown with high contrast leather harnesses - which has been a trend for a while, with lots of girls in bands sporting the look. A soft crepe dress pulled in by a leather harness becomes very sexy and a little tougher - and a lot of the pumps were in perforated leather, carrying the hard and soft theme all the way through. A lot of the sleeves had kimono shapes, and there was definitely an Asian influence in shapes, slits up the sides of crepe dresses, and the tiny prints.
Herve' Leger's spring was inspired by something completely different: the handcrafted embroidery and patchwork of the South - most notably by women from Gee's Bend, Alabama, who make handcrafted quilts.
Of course, the Leger line is famous for its "bandage style dress" - wrapped knit that fits the body more like bandages than gloves. But, this year, a new shape crept in: a flared bandage dress, which reminded us a lot of the looks of Azzedine Alaia - and that can never be bad! These were printed and textured bandage dresses the likes of which we've never seen before. And they didn't remind us of the South - more of a nightclub in L.A. And yes, a few leather harnesses turned up on these dresses too - it's clearly the Azria's way of keep spring hot.