The oft-repeated theory, given the crush of people at coffee shops and malls during the week, is that residents of Los Angeles aren’t necessarily slaves to their careers. Obviously this is an unfair judgment—a multibillion-dollar Hollywood franchise doesn’t film itself—yet there’s no denying the city has its own twist on what’s appropriate to wear on the job.
Power suits and pumps are just too severe for the Southern California sun. Max and Lubov Azria have always had a keen ability to tap into that easygoing West Coast mind-set and so, though they took influences from work wear for their spring 2013 BCBG Max Azria collection, it was not the sort of rigorous, serious, exec dressing we’ve been seeing.
It was sexier, softer, more BCBG. This is a house that loves chiffon and a flutter sleeve, and who says work should get in the way of that? Simple, lightweight dresses were done with cutouts of lace and baroque-printed fabric. Short chambray skirts were layered over panels of black lace. And leather pieces were casual, like a great blush-toned, A-line skirt with front and back pockets.
Helmut Newton was an influence too, evident in the graphic black-and-white palette that echoed his photographs—although Kati Nescher in a melon and ivory-lace dress was a bright spot in every sense. And the leather harnesses strapped around the models’ torsos recalled Newton’s femme fatales. It was definitely an approach to power dressing, though when it comes to this label, a soft touch is the most effective.