Designer Christian Juul Nielsen gives Hervé Léger’s legendary dresses a modern dose of cool

October 9, 2019

Herve Leger will always be synonymous with the bandage dress. A statement-making piece that doesn’t hug the figure so much as completely remold it, it’s a fashion icon in itself, worn by everyone from Cindy Crawford to Kim Kardashian. But, since Christian Juul Nielsen took the helm in September last year, the Parisian label has undergone a quiet evolution, channelling its bombshell brilliance into a more sophisticated silhouette, earning a new and diverse coterie of fans along the way: Kate Bosworth, Elizabeth Moss and Cardi B have all worn the label’s dresses in recent months.

Juul Nielsen, who cut his teeth as a designer working under John Galliano at Dior, has clocked that it takes more than a legendary backstory to make a brand fly right now and has set about infusing Herve Leger with a hefty amount of modern cool and day-to-day relevance. That doesn’t mean that he’s thrown out all the glamour (if you’re looking for a traffic-stopping, curve-creating dress, then the label should still be top of your list of go-tos), but he’s cleverly translated it into more relaxed, low-key clothes that work as well with effortlessly mussed hair, understated makeup and a low heel as they do with high-octane styling. 

The FW19 collection is an exercise in elegant refinement, an ultra-elevated take on basic shapes. Take the black jumpsuit with its sleeveless, body-con bodice and elegantly tailored pants – the epitome of day-to-night dressing. It’s at once irresistibly simple and impossibly chic, not to mention set to be on of the most versatile pieces in your closet; wear with a mid-heel and a blazer in the boardroom or ramp things up with sky-high stilettos and a bold red lip to make an impact after dark.

And, because shorter days inevitably lead to longer nights and a never-ending round of parties, there are cocktail dresses and floor-skimming gowns that really pack a punch, too, all deploying Herve Leger’s signature bandage technique to frankly devastating effect. There’s a timeless black mini dress with a daringly cut-out back that’s just the thing to make you look and feel good on a night out; an ultra-flattering long red gown, slit to the thigh on one side, that’s a fast-track to instant confidence. And an emerald-green gown, sculptural above the waist and with a 1920s-inspired fringed skirt that will shimmy as you move, that you’ll want to call upon when you really need to make a statement. This is after-dark power dressing at its best.

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