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Hervé Legér

It’s a Wrap

Body wraps at one point meant Ace bandages or plastic wrap to induce weight loss. Under French fashion house Hervé Legér, body wraps have been redefined. Hervé Léger’s wraps are sexy bandage dresses that literally strap and band strips of fabric onto female forms -- not made for those with claustrophobia, and on the luxe rather than budget end of the spectrum.

Founded in 1985, Hervé Léger was acquired in 1998 by BCBG Max Azria Group. This acquisition marked the first time in fashion history that a French couturier has been managed by an American designer (Max Azria). Now the Hervé Léger label is designed by Mr. Azria himself. The brand’s signature bandage dresses have found their following not only amongst celebrities such as Kate Bosworth and Victoria Beckham but also amongst the masses at San Francisco’s Westfield Shopping Center.

Hervé Léger by Max Azria continues to expand its global retail presence with namesake boutiques, specialty stores and high-end department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Selfridges. The San Francisco location opened in hardly upbeat economic times but it’s a crime to stop the spirit of fashion.

The space is brightly lit with white glossy floors. In the window are mannequins bound in the latest creations from the Spring-Summer collection. The looks may appear repetitious but the classic designs have endured all these years and do not show any sign of fatigue. A particular standout is the rainbow knit dress ($2,250) with its colorful bands that wrap horizontally.

The collection is made up of not just dresses. Separates are available for those who would like to show off a particular part of their figure. A banded fuchsia tank ($680), for example, works like a modern corset to accentuate cleavage. A similar effect was achieved by a shopper trying on a black number that had swaths of black silk swirling at the bottom, who was heard to exclaim “I’ve never had this much cleavage!” The look was an interesting contrast between tight and loose fitting.

Mini skirts ($600) and swimsuits also appeared on the floor during my last visit. I wasn’t feeling terribly brave to try either of them.

In addition to showcasing the Hervé Léger brand, Max Azria also presents his own namesake label along one side of the store. The silhouettes are much more forgiving than Hervé Léger pieces. There are varied pieces for this season that include cashmere cardigans ($398) and maxi dresses with flowing folds of floral print ($980). Also not-to-be-missed is the selection of accessories and perfume that round out Max Azria’s collections. Handbags and shoes line the shelves leaning against a backdrop of books painted on the white wall.

Prices at Hervé Léger are not in the same range of the neighboring retail stores but then again the designs and quality are altogether in another league as well. For example, the parfait woven gown ($2,400) is quite a piece of work. Behind each iconic design much thought and energy is expended to decide the color and placement of each piece of fabric.

Venture deep into the boutique for the sale items. I found pieces at 60 percent off the original price. A honeysuckle dress was marked from $1,350 to $540.

New items are always arriving and markdowns are often in effect. Moreover the staff is very helpful whether you seek a form-fit or a relaxed look. Just know that you are trying something that pays tribute to the female silhouette no matter your shape or size.