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Published: 23:58 BST, 15 August 2015 | Updated: 14:12 BST, 21 August 2015

It was the figure-hugging frock behind a fashion revolution, but now the boss of Herve Leger's UK distributor has launched a bizarre attack on some of the women who buy its iconic bandage dresses.

Patrick Couderc has urged ‘voluptuous’ women and those with ‘very prominent hips and a very flat chest’ to steer clear of the £1,300 creations.

And in a dangerously outspoken interview with The Mail on Sunday, he risked further offence by claiming that ‘committed lesbians’ would never want to wear such tight clothes anyway because they preferred to be ‘butch and leisurely’.

Patrick Couderc, right, said that Cheryl Fernandez-Versini cuts ‘a fantastic silhouette’, he urged ‘voluptuous’ women and those with ‘very prominent hips and a very flat chest’ to steer clear of the £1,300 creations

Mr Couderc, managing director of MJH Fashion, Herve Leger’s UK licensee, lamented that the skin-tight bandage dress – imitated countless times by cheaper High Street brands – had become a victim of its own success, with too many now seen on the wrong-shaped customers.

He went on to despair of older women who insisted on ‘displaying everything like you’re 23’ and women who wore underwear that was too small.

The brand’s iconic bandage dress – so-called because it is made from strips of stretchy fabric like bandages wound around the body – was pioneered in the 1980s and has since been worn by a host of celebrities from Elle Macpherson and Victoria Beckham to Rihanna and Kate Winslet.

Its popularity, and its 2007 relaunch, sparked a trend for body-con (‘con’ for conscious) dresses, with High Street brands including Topshop, Reiss, French Connection and Next producing more affordable versions.

Tamara Ecclestone, left, and Caitlyn Jenner, right, both wearing Herve Leger dresses

However, in recent years the style has become associated more with reality television stars from shows such as TOWIE and Geordie Shore, who are regularly spotted falling out of nightclubs wearing versions of the dress.

Mr Couderc told the MoS that he refuses to give free dresses to celebrities if they are judged to lack sufficient class.

Turning to the fashion sense of lesbians, he said: ‘If you’re a committed lesbian and you are wearing trousers all your life, you won’t want to buy a Leger dress. Lesbians would want to be rather butch and leisurely.’

When asked about tandoori-tanned reality television personalities such as the stars of TOWIE, Made In Chelsea and Geordie Shore who wear the dress, he admitted, dryly: ‘You can be a victim of your success.’

He expressed concern that the Kardashians and other clothing brands had come dangerously close to stealing Herve Leger’s designs.

While he conceded that Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has ‘a fantastic silhouette’, he said many ordinary women should not be wearing his dresses.

Speaking at Herve Leger’s boutique in Knightsbridge, Central London, he said: ‘You women have a lot of problems. You will lose the plot. You will come and you will put a dress on and you’ll be in front of the mirror, like, “Argh, I’m so fat.”

‘Yes, you have a 12th of an inch around your stomach, it’s not really a disaster, and what you’re not noticing is that your cleavage is about two inches too low because you are 55 and it’s time that you should not display everything like you’re 23.’ Although the bandage dress, he said, could provide useful support in this case.

He went on to warn women not to wear underwear that was too small, because ‘the knicker line cuts through the flesh and goes through the other side of the dress,’ creating an unattractive ‘visible panty line’.

When asked about Katie Price wearing Herve Leger dresses to show off her surgically enhanced curves, he offered his thoughts on the social significance of hosiery.

He said: ‘I have an expression which I attach to girls: I never go out to dinner if she’s not wearing tights. I think hosiery is something which is very magical in my world and I’m veering off into complete poetry now. But it’s a social statement because in the 1980s, the difference between someone who was wearing tights and someone who was not was very significant.

‘Whoever was wearing tights was working in a private office in a bank in St James’s and whoever was not wearing tights was coming to work as a shampooist in a High Street hairdresser, commuting from Croydon.

‘We were living in a time where the distinction between the two social strata was much more significant than today.’

Rather than reality TV stars, he said he prefers ‘people with an expertise’ to wear his dresses such as Sex And The City actress Kim Cattrall.

  • Since publication of this article, Herve Leger has issued this statement: “The Herve Leger by Max Azria brand and its parent company, BCBGMAXAZRIA Group, are shocked and appalled by Patrick Couderc’s comments made in the Mail on Sunday. BCBGMAXAZRIA Group is working in concert with MJH Fashion, the London-based licensee of the Herve Leger brand, to investigate and establish appropriate next steps. The statements made by Mr. Couderc are not a reflection of Herve Leger by Max Azria or MJH Fashion ideals or sentiments. The Herve Leger by Max Azria brand celebrates sensuality, glamour and femininity without discrimination.” 



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