NEW YORK — There was high contrast on the catwalk Thursday at the BCBG Max Azria runway show, with leather harnesses sharing the stage — and sometimes the same outfit — with lingerie lace.
And, as is often the case as New York Fashion Week kicked off eight days of previews of next season's styles, the BCBG collection seemed to offer an early indicator for trends.
Fluid silhouettes were tempered by the tough texture of the leather, and soft, draped crepe fabrics were strong thanks to the graphic black-and-white roots of the palette.
Azria explained that he aimed to capture the allure of femme fatales and the sharpness of Helmut Newton's photography. "A cool combination of work wear and lingerie is offset by sculptural leather harnesses, while fluid silhouettes, elongated proportions and weightless fabrics embody the seductive allure of the season," he said in his notes for editors, stylists and retailers,
It's important for this line to make a strong impression because it's the first marquee show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Azria said in a backstage interview. "It has to have substance as the first big show. ... I don't want you to forget it."
Dresses, the BCBG signature, were the most impactful pieces, especially a shirtdress with patchwork lace that allowed just a peek of peony pink to come through the mostly white look, and the black double-weave dress with lace inserts that gave the illusion of many airy layers.
Leather skirts with hemlines that hit below the knee were another statement silhouette. They worked better than the leather shorts that also hit the same point on the leg but that weren't even flattering on the models.
The perforated leather shoes, with a ladylike pump-style front and a menswear-style spat ankle, seemed like they could catch on, though.
"It's about a feminine woman," said Azria, "but she's strong!"