Herve Leger Brings Bandage to the Beach
by lauren finney
When in Miami, do as the Miamians do: Get sexy and make waves. There’s no stronger way to make a statement on South Beach than with graphic swimwear from storied brand Herve Leger. “I’m really big on being in the present and looking around you and appreciating what [you see],” says Lubov Azria, creative director and half of the husband-and-wife duo behind the BCBG Max Azria Group empire, of which Herve Leger is part. As part-time residents of Fisher Island, she and husband Max can attest to just how much of the inspiration for the Herve Leger brand is drawn specifically from Miami. “I love Miami,” she says. “I love the heritage.”
Heritage is a huge theme in the Herve Leger collection: After relaunching the brand in 2007, the Azrias knew their success would depend on building on the legacy that began in 1985 and on their ability to carry it through with constant invention and the label’s unique flair. “The fact is that Herve Leger has always done swimwear,” Azria says. “For Spring 2009, we did a finale where all the girls were in swimwear, and the response was unbelievable. It was then we knew we had definitely hit [our] stride with swim.”
Hitting their stride is putting it lightly. Celebrities from Charlize Theron and Rihanna to Kate Moss and Jennifer Lawrence have embraced the powerful and head-turning bandage swimwear, which is now for the first time water-friendly thanks to the quick-dry capacity of the yarn. “Because bandage is a knit and not a fabric, the development of the Herve Leger swimwear as we know it today has been a process, but one that has been worth it,” Azria says. “I can design clothes that are absolutely beautiful to look at, but if you can’t wear them, what’s the point? That’s the Azria spirit—always thinking, How can we innovate? There’s nothing like Herve Leger in fashion. Since we bought the company and the [bandage] dress was already there, we didn’t realize the innovation behind it. We are the only people who actually can work with the bandage, and it’s all done by hand and sewn to fit the silhouette.”
This attention to minute details is signature Azria. Not surprisingly, her Herve Leger woman is fashion-forward; she’s strong, confident, and sensual—all attributes that can be applied equally well to the Miami woman. “She doesn’t have to try to be sexy or alluring—that’s just who she is,” states Azria simply.
When in Miami, the couple will often frequent Nobu, Villa Azur, and the Soho Beach House, and where many women, including Azria herself, get extra value out of their Herve Leger swim pieces night or day. “There are so many ways to wear the swim,” she explains. “You could be wearing your bathing suit and put on a beautiful skirt, and it looks like a cutout dress. I like it for nightclubbing—you put the suit on, you put on a tight skirt, and it looks like an amazing dress.”
You can also find the Azrias scouring the Design District for fashion outside the closet. “I can find eclectic pieces of art, home décor, and anything Art Deco,” she says with pure excitement. “One-of-a-kind pieces. I’m just obsessed. It’s my favorite place.” Most of the Azrias’ ideas come from art and design, as evidenced in the Fall 2013 collection that was inspired heavily by the work of French surrealist sculptor François-Xavier Lalanne and the art and evolution of nature itself. Of course, Art Basel Miami Beach is a can’t-miss event for the couple. In turn, Azria herself is inspired by the spirit of our city during this unique time, as well as year round: “I love the people and the bold fashion, and love people who celebrate life.”
photography by ulrica wihlborg (lubov azria)
See our behind-the-scenes footage from the 'Hobbit' and former 'Lost' actress' shoot.