For Hérve Léger, Filipino-American designer Michelle Ochs strikes a sweet balance between brand-coded classics and a fresh perspective.
Hérve Léger is seeing a revival at the hands of Filipino-American designer Michelle Ochs. And she didn’t do it by altering the classics. (In the peak of the aughts, the brand’s body-conscious bandage minis were seen on everyone from Victoria Beckham to Kim Kardashian to Lou Doillon, crystallizing itself in the lexicon of famous and frequently-imitated dresses of all time.) Instead, she focused her attention on adding “dimension, movement, and fluidity,” as she told Vogue. “I want her to relax a little.”
Ochs’s debut collection for the brand at New York Fashion Week was made for the woman who doesn’t skimp on style to traverse harsh cityscapes. Although it might be hard to tell, a vital factor of an Hérve dress is comfort, with bandages providing enough support for the body that it can be worn by itself. Ochs expands on this, giving it a universe of its own with refreshing, streamlined separates: pants, jumpsuits, and tops that cling to the female form.
Dresses were fluid, best captured in motion—silk jersey and fringe flying about the body. The promised dimension was found in the designer’s detailed corsetry, introducing a welcome remix to the brand’s bandage bodices. The color palette graduated from Hérve Léger’s last offerings of nude, bright teal, and baby pinks, moving onto a modern mix of neutrals and saffron, neon green, navy, and a cool, steel blue.
This appointment is a fitting one for Ochs, who has been banking on expert draping, polished tailoring, and form-fitting silhouettes at her solo label Et Ochs. Designing close to the body is a signature she has always shared with Hérve Léger, but what she brings to the table is more than just her expertise. Tasked to bring the brand back into the realm of relevancy, she approached brand codes with a “female perspective,” what she tells Vogue is something that they “haven’t [had] in a minute.” Ochs hints at a playful suggestion: Maybe the Léger woman can do more in her bandage dress than attend a party.