When it comes to nostalgic fashion trends, Hervé Léger bandage dresses are an interesting case study. While most fads rose into and fell out of prominence within a period of a few years (since the advent of social media, it’s more like a few months), they had a unique staying power, remaining a curve-hugging wardrobe staple throughout the ’90s and into 2000s. Eventually, silhouette preferences changed and their popularity waned.
Now, of course, body-con is back, and so is the bandage dress. Hervé Léger recently underwent a refresh via new creative director Christian Juul Nielsen. Shoppers can head to Net-a-Porter or Bloomingdale’s and pick one up for around $700 to $2,000, depending on length and material.
A favorite of supermodels, Hollywood starlets, socialites and original “Gossip Girl” characters during their heyday, bandage dresses never came cheap, making them something of a status item. But today, the brand is making them more accessible than ever — inflation be damned — by teaming up with another brand that thrived (and, frankly, produced many Hervé Léger knockoffs) in the 2000s: Forever 21.
It’s an interesting move on the part of the fast-fashion retailer, which may be trying to distance itself from its copycat reputation. Though, there’s another reason why it might have chosen the collaboration route in lieu of simply “taking inspiration” this time around: In 2020, after declaring bankruptcy, the mall chain was acquired by Authentic Brands Group, which has owned Hervé Léger since 2017. (Its previous parent company also went bankrupt.) That means this partnership was especially seamless — if not necessary. In fashion’s 2000s renaissance, inexpensive versions of the bandage dress were inevitably going to hit the market; at least through this arrangement, Forever 21 isn’t cannibalizing a business under its own corporate umbrella.
The small, limited-edition capsule collection of formfitting dresses in classic colors drops just in time for weddings and proms, and I’m honestly almost jealous — I only dreamt of being able to afford Hervé Léger for my senior prom back in 2006. These dresses will only set you back $39.99 to $129.99. (Though, it’s worth considering why those prices are what they are.)
In line with this theme of accessibility, the brands noted “extended sizing” in the launch’s press release; however, it turns out that extends only to XXL. (The designer-level dresses themselves go up to XL.) We suppose that, much like in the 2000s, Hervé Léger’s fans above a certain size may again have to buy another fast-fashion retailer’s version.
See the full collection in the gallery below.