The phenomenon of designer Hervé Léger’s tight dress

(Photo: Getty Images)

It reappeared in women’s wardrobes along with the nightlife that returned after the contractual end of the pandemic. The bandage dress which, thanks to Hervé Léger, dominated fashion in the late 1980s and early 1990s, is now experiencing its second youth.

What should a woman wear when she goes to a cocktail party in Miami – a city where arms and legs are always on display and show off the body shape? When I received an invite to a special event in the heart of South Beach, I knew I needed something tight, sexy, and high-end at the same time. I didn’t want to wear a type dress slip dress (the Gwyneth Paltrow style in New York seems pretty boring to me) nor the trapezoidal outfits (too old fashioned). The suit and tie option didn’t smile either (nothing new). So, to climb to the top of bravado, I chose a typical dress look: the Hervé Léger dress.

(Photo: Getty Images)

I could reach for the brand’s most recognizable design – a bandage mini dress. In the mid-2000s, it was worn by all the stars, from Kim Kardashian to Lou Doillo (tight they were just ubiquitous back then). Instead, I chose her updated version from the Pre-Fall 2021 collection, with a striking bottom trimmed with fringe reaching to the ankles and a signature bandage top. The elements that gave it a sensual character were the cuts under the bust and the fact that it hugged every depression and curve of my body.

Innovative bandaging technique

I have never been a fan of dresses, even less of the Hervé Léger brand. But maybe I should wear them more often. The bandage dress acts like a bra that supports the whole body – it keeps everything in its place. Moreover, it is an important part of fashion history. Designer Hervé Léger (later Hervé Leroux) ruled the runways in the late 1980s and early 1990s. All models participated in his shows, incl. Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Yasmeen Ghauri. The bandaging technique was an innovation. In an article in the April 2007 issue of Vogue, Tim Blanks recalls how Leroux created this ingenious model of body support. He developed it while working for Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi, where he made felt fur headbands. After creating his own brand in 1985, Leroux’s designs dominated the runways and he invented new versions of bandage solutions. He mass-produced dresses made up of rainbow ribbons and arranged the fabric stripes to cross over his body to create the sexiest clothes ever.

Sewn under Google

When Leroux left the company – it was bought by BCBG Max Azria in 2007 – the Hervé Léger brand was sidelined. Her dresses were more of a TV reality, and fashion-interested girls – including me – didn’t look kindly on them. Now they are returning to red carpets, clubs and parties. In 2019, Emily Ratajkowski founded one for the premiere of “Diamonds in the Rough” (the infamous moment when she featured “Fuck Weinstein” on her forearm). Last summer, Tiffany Haddish (stylized by Law Roach) appeared in tight dress at the premiere of the “Friday Night Vibes” series. In April 2021, searches for “Hervé Léger” were at 74%. more often, and interest in bandage dresses increased by 49%. The brand’s current creative director is Christian Juul Nielsen, an archivist by vocation who began his career at Dior John Galliano and who is also behind the Aknvas brand. Nielsen in Hervé Léger recreates the atmosphere of the 90s, while giving the projects a modern quality. In a nutshell, it does wonders for the brand.

Cindy Crawford in the Hervé Léger Spring/Summer 1996 show (Photo: Getty Images)

In motion and in control

In my opinion, the second life of these dresses can be attributed to the return of nightlife. When women can finally step out of their homes, they want to dress up, stand out from the crowd, and try on clothes they’ve never worn before. The Hervé Léger dress can really do wonders. The brand’s creations are heavy, weighing around 4.5-7 kg, but when you wear the dress, you don’t pay attention to it at all – it gives the impression of holding your body in a very strong grip. At the aforementioned event, I received many compliments from other editors. Eve Thomas, who flew to Miami straight from snowy Montreal, noticed that I often touched the fringe of my dress, comparing myself to Catwoman and her whip. – The dress seems to encourage interaction with her and frequent movement said Thomas. – A bit like when someone wears a flared skirt and everyone asks for a twist.

Naomi Campbell in the Hervé Léger Spring/Summer 1996 show (Photo: Getty Images)

I suspect that now that spring is on the way, bandage dresses will gain even more popularity. Hervé Léger’s projects are part of the sphere of unexpected fashion comebacks, just like Alexander McQueen’s skull scarves and Balenciaga’s City Bag. So let’s go for bandage designs that guarantee fun – and shape the body beautifully.

The original material appeared on Vogue.co.uk.

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