The £1,300 Herve Leger dress that’s the sexiest ever… pity you can’t breathe in it
by Rebecca Wilcox
Kate Winslet is the latest celebrity to squeeze herself into the Herve Leger bandage dress. It does wonders for the figure but what’s it really like to wear? Rebecca Wilcox hit the streets of London to find out…
People in the photographic studio where I am waiting are nervously offering me tea, coffee and food, but all I can do is mutely shake my head.
If I were to open my mouth I would undoubtedly blurt out my desire for a large cheese sandwich, but I know I mustn’t consume anything.
The reason for this arrives moments later in a House of Fraser bag the size of an envelope.
It’s a Herve Leger dress. A dress so small and so tight that it coined its own fashion term: body con(scious). What a terrifying thought.
Who could ever look good in something that was made to make you feel self-conscious?
And yet, last week, Kate Winslet – who was once a heroine for curvy women – was photographed looking incredible in a Leger dress, one that was not too dissimilar to the item that will become my own personal hell for the next few hours.
It’s the latest must-have garment and has been sported by celebs such as Rachel Weisz, Lindsay Lohan and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Such is the cachet of the Herve the Curve dress that there is now a host of similar dresses on the High Street from stores such as French Connection, Reiss, Lipsy and Topshop.
On the hanger, the Leger is gorgeous. But at £1,300 you would expect it to be something pretty special.
I quickly whip out my entire collection of control pants. I had thought that I could ‘triple layer’ them in order to get the smooth Winslet silhouette.
Bereft of my support hose I take one last breath before stepping into the dress. To my astonishment, it acts as its own pair of magic pants.
It’s so tight that two of us struggle with the zip, but as soon as it’s done up, something amazing happens.
My usually stooped posture is forced into an upright pose. My bosom is hiked up to the heavens, and my thighs are clamped together so tightly that walking is nearly impossible.
I chance a glance in the mirror and am surprised to see I almost have a waist, perhaps even the hint of a smooth bum. Something that many hundreds of squats and lunges have still failed to deliver has been provided in moments by this remarkable dress.
The only thing I haven’t done yet is breathe out. Nor will I. For while it cinches and smoothes in some places, it also rounds and protrudes in others.
Stomachs are a no-no under this thing. Love handles need to be sucked in, or vanished by exercise or surgery. No wonder that the typical ‘bandage dress’ devotee is someone like Cheryl Cole or Victoria Beckham – they are probably around a size ten if you stood the two of them side by side.
But then Kate Winslet looked great in hers, so I soldier on and attempt to live out a normal day in the dress. I realise at once that this is not the dress to do your shopping in. In fact, this is not the dress to do much of anything in other than stand still.
Stairs are an unfeasible challenge when your legs can move only six inches apart. Sitting is fine, but getting up and down from the chair needs skills that I clearly don’t possess.
Trying to get out of a cab, meanwhile, involves a strange contortion and a good sense of humour.
Having said that I will love this dress for ever. Even though I couldn’t eat, move or barely even breathe in it, it produced my first ever compliment from a stranger.
A man, just walking past, said: ‘Wow’. That doesn’t happen in my bog-standard jeans and flat shoes.
I didn’t get the same reaction at all when I tried the £135 Reiss version.
At more than £1,000 cheaper, I was hopeful that this dress would, similarly, cling to every desired curve and hide the undesirable ones.
Instead, it limped its way over my frankly sagging bust – the neckline made wearing a bra impossible – and swelled dangerously over my stomach.
I had hoped to slink out of the changing rooms like some lithe, Spandexed wonder, instead I waddled my way towards the mirror appalled by what I saw.
As these body-con dresses go, this one was less bandage and more sack-age.
So I’m going to have to start saving, because I really want the real thing.
And anyway, breathing is overrated.