Chemetal’s Fashion Week catwalk.

Custom copper panels featured in Hervé Léger Show during Fashion Week.

Weathered copper panels, custom created by Chemetal, served as a powerful backdrop for the Hervé Léger Show during Fashion Week in New York on February 15. The show, presenting the Fall 2009 collection from Hervé Léger by Max Azria, part of BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP, promised to “drum to the beat of the urban tribe.”

“BCBG came to us with a few standard Chemetal designs in mind, but when they said they wanted an urban look inspired by Richard Serra, I knew we had something perfect,” says Chemetal creative director Geoff Schaefer.

Problem was, what Chemetal had in mind, and what BCBG bought off on almost immediately after seeing an iPhone photo, was an R&D item. “We’d been doing R&D, and knew we had something, but hadn’t created a full 4′ x 8′ sheet of this design, never mind a production run,” says Schaefer.

More amazing than the backdrop was the production turnaround time at Chemetal. BCBG contacted Chemetal on a Thursday, finalized the pattern on Friday and needed the material at their production facility, Kadan Productions in NYC and NJ, the following Wednesday. Fabrication and installation had to happen by showtime on Sunday (and “fashionably late” wasn’t an option). “When I heard the timeline I just laughed,” says Schaefer, “and told them to go with an off-the-shelf Chemetal design. But they were psyched about the look, and their enthusiasm was pretty cool.”

The Chemetal production team was pretty cool, too. They stepped up to produce these designs on HPL copper by deadline. Since the company makes so many of its designs in-house, and all of its oxidized, and patinaed metals, they have a wealth of knowledge and abilities. Plus, it was an opportunity to see if this design was something Chemetal could offer as a standard item, and gauge production time, durability and consistency.

The result? According to Lubov Azaria, creative director for BCBGMAXAZARIA, “We took the staging up a notch for Hervé Léger this season, and had a custom metallic set made by an amazing company called Chemetal. We were inspired by the artist Richard Serra, and they were able to pay homage to him in a way that was perfect for our show.”With reviews like that, who knows, maybe weathered copper, and weathered steel designs, will be part of Chemetal’s collection of metal designs in the near future.

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