Max Azria: toned down

Max Azria’s fall 2011 catwalk didn’t so much begin as it did pound into life, the bass of the catwalk track reverberating in my ear drums in much the same way I can still hear a long night out in the confines of a small European night club long after it has ended. Not subtle, but then most things associated with the Azria surname tend not to be. But such is the cost of becoming best known for defining precisely how sexy a bandage dress can be.

In reality, however, the Max Azria label (designed by husband and wife team Max and Lubov Azria) has been anything but overt of late. Take a look at their last autumn / winter offering: minimalist, delicate, and with flow. And so it was that at New York fashion week, on a catwalk of temporary floorboards walked some of the best models in the city, and draped loosely across their frames was a collection that was precisely the opposite of what springs to mind when you think ‘Azria’. What was unveiled is a collection whose hems are modest. A collection whose fabrics are spun in greys, blacks and olives. Detailed yes, layered yes, but overt no.

What, then, did it offer up?

Not much of what you’d expect. In fact, not only was there not a little black dress in sight, there was barely a little dress to speak of. Instead, the Max Azria collection you can expect for the coming season opened with block tailoring, and continued those two elements throughout many of the other pieces. Where it wasn’t tailored and it wasn’t blocked, it was loose with the collection’s tonality applied to odd, un-Azria feeling pieces such as jumpsuits and work overalls.

But there still has to be some flash of skin in order for it to truly be a Max Azria collection. And so the was. Yet instead of coming in a figure hugging shape, the flash of skin came courtesy of thigh high splits applied to skirts cut below the knee, and also courtesy of the slightest use of sheer cloth within the range. That, however, is slight in the sense of repetition given this Azria label closed on a look designed to stick in one’s mind: model Jac taking to the catwalk in a sheer maxi dress. But even then the impact was reduced courtesy of the dress being paired with a heavy winter overcoat.

To peruse the entire Max Azria autumn (fall) / winter 2011 / 2012 collection click on the thumbnails below.