For Autumn/Winter 2010, Azria and his team latched onto the feeling for hi-tech sportswear that has surfaced in a clutch of collections.
Say what you like about Herve Leger, but the house certainly has a trademark - short, sharp and almost excruciatingly tight frocks artfully cobbled together from strips of elastic. For Max Azria, the label's owner and design head, the passing of each season has become not a moment for reinvention, but a question of how to minimally tweak that bankable basic to chime with the mood of the time. For Autumn/Winter 2010, Azria and his team latched onto the feeling for hi-tech sportswear that has surfaced in a clutch of collections - after all, those streamlined frocks resemble nothing less than glorified go-faster swimming costumes. Thus next season's Legers are tricked out with panels of aertex mesh, geometric inserts of neon, and elastic straps and buckles galore. Indeed, silver buckles and trainer-lacing snaked its way through ever possible permutation, outlining shoulders, delineating racerbacks and, in some cases, simply tramlining up and down the briefest of sheaths. This being a winter collection, there were some half-hearted stabs at covering up - somewhat predictably, Leger's trousers were more like leggings, alongside neoprene jackets sitting halfway between wetsuit and surgical truss. Give or take the odd asymmetric sleeve, these were the only seasonal concession, but that was of no concern - Leger fans will always have room in their wardrobe for another teeny-tiny slip of elastic. A tougher sell were the frocks laminated with geometric enamel designs, or a few odd little numbers with flanges of fabric protruding from the hip - exactly why you would want to gird your loins in stretch-acetate and then supersize them with milles-feuilles ruffles is a question the Leger team should have asked before that one hit the drawing-board.