You’ll find them at every Herve Leger fashion week show: The fangirls (fan-women?) dressed to the nines in the house’s signature bandage dresses, sky high stilettos, cleavage up to their necks, big blowouts, and a full face of makeup. If the house that Max Azria built was spiritual, the Herve Leger show at Lincoln Center would be the ultimate pilgrimage.
So who are these women who are neither editors nor buyers, stylists nor celebrities?
They're the brand's most die-hard customers and they scoop up Herve Leger bandage dresses like they're just another venti soy latte from Starbucks.
“I own probably five dresses,” said Trancia Feit, a self-proclaimed “sexy stay-at-home mom” whom we met waiting outside the entrance to the show.
Feit sported a skintight bandage dress in beige paired with towering heels from Christian Louboutin. She was invited by a stylist at one of the Herve Leger stores in town.
“I’m just obsessed with the dresses, let me tell you. The curves, it just fits like a glove," Feit said. "You become the dress. You feel so lady-like and you want to take the dress and just go to cocktail parties, weddings, events you know, everything.”
Feit was standing with her plus-one, Victoria Lamura-Finnerty, 40, another New York City housewife. The mother of two was wearing a midnight blue bandage number with long sleeves. “Perfect dress for a fashion show or like, a wedding or something," she said.
“I love Herve Leger,” she cooed in a thick, New Yawk accent. “It makes me feel like I can get any man that’s out there but I already have one!"
The brand, which was founded in 1985 by designer Herve L. Leroux, became a household name when Leroux created the bandage dress. The body-con creation was revolutionary: Women clamored to get their hands on the brand's famous figure-hugging design, purported to simultaneously enhance--and tame--curves.
“[It’s for a] particular body in the best shape possible,” Azria once said of the dress.
In 1998, the Leger brand was acquired by the BCBG Max Azria Group and Seagram’s Group and in 2007 designer Max Azria and his wife Lubov re-launched the brand under a new direction. They debuted the new line at Bryant Park in February of 2008. Since then, Azria has turned the fashion house into a megabrand with everyone from Hollywood types like Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry, to wealthy middle-aged women, to the young and hip, sporting his body-con designs.
To honor his loyal customers (and encourage them to buy even more bandage dresses), the brand gives out tickets to the exclusive fashion week show to a select few.
“We have a specific number that we can let attend and we choose from the ones we (managers and associates) have at our stores,” A Herve Leger store manager (who would not disclose her name) told us. “Basically we invite the top clients.”
What makes someone a top client? The store manager said it varied. “Some top clients spend $20,000 a season. Some spend $10,000. When we see who goes to fashion week, it comes down to a process of elimination.” Each store is given a specific number of tickets to give out. The manager with whom we spoke had 10 tickets to give away this season.
Such generosity is certainly a great marketing tactic to retain high-paying customers. It makes these women feel important, valued and more intimate with the brand.
“I’m a pretty big shopper with BCBG Max Azria so my stylist was really nice to make sure I get tickets for both BCBG and Herve Leger,” Feit said. “Yeah, I’m happy. I’m very excited to see the show and hopefully buy more products.”
After the show concluded this past weekend, a sea of bandage dresses exited Lincoln Center. Among them was none other than model Jessica Perez, who wore one of the sheaths with a plunging neckline. Perez, who has been shot by Sports Illustrated, said she owned ten other bandage dresses.
“The Herve Leger dress? You can wear it anywhere like parties, dinners, events, anytime you want men to look at you, basically,” she said. So how was she--glammed up with her beautiful body in a two-toned Herve Leger dress--planning on spending her fabulous evening that night?
“Oh, I’ll be cleaning my apartment.”