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Leger bandage dresses, influenced by quilt makers

NEW YORK — Designer Max Azria's bandage dresses for Herve Leger by Max Azria are seriously flattering — you can see that best not on the models, who frankly would look good in anything, but on the fashionistas in the audience at his shows.

But each show needs to have a new theme, and for Azria's Spring 2013 preview on Saturday, it was something unusual: Quilt-making. From Alabama.

The collection, the company said, "depicts a story of the sultry South through handcrafted embroidery, patchwork and applique fused with signature couture techniques."

One wouldn't ordinarily think of quilt-making from the American South as having much to do with the tight, figure-enhancing dresses that Azria does so well, but the patchwork designs made many of the dresses on display very pretty and colorful, if on a few occasions a bit busy.

Particularly appealing was a blue sapphire high-neck bandage dress with "passementerie" embroidery and applique. It was accompanied by a black leather belt and black snakeskin bootie. Footwear is always striking at an Azria show, and the focus here was on booties of either snakeskin or suede.

Another feature of Azria's on full display here were his leather harnesses, in black or tan, around the neck or in the form of a corset.

And there were his interesting "playsuits" — like a bathing suit but sexier, and something you probably wouldn't wear in the water. One of them, a black bandage chain-interlaced playsuit, paired with black suede booties, may have evoked the idea of "bondage" rather than "bandage." But it certainly looked good.