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Thursday April 18, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday April 26, 2013 MYT 12:10:06 AM
by louisa lim
BCBG Max Azria turns the spotlight on the female form in its latest collection.
NO ONE does erotica the way fashion photographer Helmut Newton does. His series of black-and-white photographs of femme fatales in the buff were so influential, they became the mainstay of Vogue and other publications.
These images still live on with their visceral portrayal of sex and power long after his death in a car accident in 2004.
Judging from BCBG Max Azria’s Spring-Summer 2013 collection that was paraded across the north atrium of The Gardens Mall, Kuala Lumpur recently, it is simultaneously easy and difficult to pinpoint Max and Lubov Azria’s inspiration.
Yes, there’s a hint of bondage in the bisecting bands that adorn the bodice of jumpsuits and dresses. There’s also a flash of skin, sometimes barely visible through a diaphanous network of lace. And what about the ubiquitous leather, gleaming among the matte shades like a sly secret?
But then again, there are also pretty pleats, relaxed silhouettes and floaty fabrics like chiffon and tulle at work. These distinctly-BCBG additions were certainly not Newton-esque.
Still, no one can deny it is these very contrasts that make the current collection worthy of praise. Decadent but not over the top, feminine but not meek, sexy but not smutty, almost every piece was flattering with their perfect blend of intensity and quiescence.
The long ebony and ivory frocks, as well as the chambray workwear pieces stand out because they make power suits and pumps look so passé. The Azrias dressed down leather in the lapels of a slouchy tuxedo jacket, a pencil skirt and a pair of gauchos, giving a surprisingly sophisticated end result.
In Newton’s signature monochromatic shades, these ensembles were timeless and oh-so-wearable. Local celebrity guests Yasmin Hani and Serena C were gushing over a floor-skimming, halter-neck dress that breezed past at the tail end of the show.
Other unexpected cuts and colours also made an appearance, reflecting the designer duo’s artistic inclinations. Asymmetrical hemlines competed for attention alongside digitised prints of springtime blooms while bright blocks of colour screamed among pastels.
As these ensembles speak volumes on their own, accessories were kept to a minimal throughout the show. Models carried envelope clutches of various shapes and sizes and wore edgy leather ankle-cuffed pumps with little else.
But here’s a tip: if clothes looked as pretty as these, it would be a sin to divert the attention away with other distractions.
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