MICHELLE OCH’S DEBUT COLLECTION FOR HERVE LEGER OFFERS A SLEEK TAKE ON ITS CLASSICS
September 7, 2021
“I want to give her legs,” said Michelle Ochs, clasping an Hervé Léger bandage dress from her debut collection for the label during a preview. “Add dimension, movement, and fluidity, that’s the goal.” That starts with ease. “I want to relax her a little,” Ochs added. “It’s still polished, but I want to offer her more.”
The tried-and-true bandage dresses are present and correct—Ochs knows better than to mess with a classic—but she also explored what stretch looks like across other categories. Her timing couldn’t be better. Shapewear is having a moment (hello, Skims), but what Ochs is doing does shapewear one better: Léger outer-layers eradicate the need for shapewear while keeping the same support and comfort. Ochs’s Léger woman is still sexy, but she lives in the real world.
Ochs is betting deep on separates—tailoring, jumpsuits, tops, and a solid pair of pants (“a great pant will pay your mortgage,” she said with a knowing laugh)—made in the taut machine knits that the brand is known for. The pieces are formfitting, soft to the touch, and look surprisingly sophisticated—and they don’t come across as athleisure, a welcome concept in a world dominated by biker shorts and gym-ready jersey fabric. The designer is onto something here—at the right price point, this category could be a new niche for the stagnant label. Next season, the separates should get more play in the lookbook.
The caviar texture of certain tailored styles is a standout: It reads as a tweed but feels like a plush knit. Elsewhere, casual knit pieces treated to look like denim play on a market trend and are likely to attract a younger customer. A luscious jersey used sparingly but successfully will appeal to those in search of a more dressed-up selection, as will the sleek fringed offerings and the corset-like style of revamped bandage dresses.
The real promise behind this debut hinges not just on how prepared Ochs is for this opportunity after cofounding Cushnie et Ochs and her solo label Et Ochs, but on her apparent awareness of Hervé Léger and what it will take to revitalize it. She knows what made Léger a household name, but seems to understand that the original look has lost its relevance. “I grew up in the suburbs, seeing Hervé Léger at the mall,” she said, remembering that she wore a bandage dress to her homecoming (her mom is still trying to find a photo). “It’s a name everyone knows, but I can’t wait to leave my mark on it with a female perspective,” she said. “They haven’t had that in a minute.”
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