BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP is taking the world by storm. With critically acclaimed collections, a loyal following of Hollywood’s top celebrities and a strong worldwide presence, this fashion powerhouse has evolved into one of the hottest names in the fashion industry today.
Founded in 1989, BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP is the lifetime vision of one man: Founder, Designer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Max Azria. In 1981, after eleven years of designing a line of women’s wear in his native Paris, Azria moved to the United States and launched Jess, a series of new-concept retail boutiques offering hip French fashion to American women. After years of success, Azria decided to pursue his dream of launching a design house that spoke to the modern woman-thus BCBGMAXAZRIA was born. Named for the French phrase bon chic, bon genre, a Parisian slang meaning “good style, good attitude,” the brand embodies a true combination of European sophistication and American spirit.
Key to BCBGMAXAZRIA’s success has been Azria’s ability to maintain his creativity while maximizing his keen business sense. As one of today’s rare breed of designer-businessmen, Azria used his talent to create a new platform in the industry. With the launch of the BCBGMAXAZRIA brand, he redefined the designer category by offering innovative, high-quality clothing at contemporary price points. As a result, Azria was inducted to the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in 1998.
Lubov Azria, Chief Creative Officer of BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP and Max’s wife, joined the company as a designer in 1991 and was named Creative Director in 1996. Under Lubov’s influence, the BCBGMAXAZRIA brand has evolved from an emerging contemporary line to one of America’s leading design houses, with collections that include evening dresses, denim, outerwear, footwear, swimwear, handbags and small leather goods. In recognition of her accomplishments as a designer and creative leader, Lubov Azria was inducted into the CFDA in 2010.
Striving to realize Max’s vision, the Azrias introduced additional product categories through a series of licensing agreements with some of the industry’s most reputable companies, including the world leader in men’s shirting, Philips-Van Heusen Corporation, for men’s dress shirts and ties, which launched in Summer 2004. This licensing deal was closely followed by similar agreements with Geneva Watch Co. for women’s watches, Colors in Optics for sunwear and ClearVision for optical eyewear in Spring 2005.
Reinforcing BCBGMAXAZRIA as a premier American fashion brand, Max and Lubov Azria successfully launched the collection on the runway for the first time during New York’s Fall 1996 Fashion Week. The following season, The New York Times hailed, “Mr. Azria imbued his collection with worldly élan.” In February 2006, in response to both their critical success and the needs and aspirations of their most discerning customers, the Azrias launched an exclusive runway designer collection called Max Azria. The collection allows the designers to explore their creativity full force, ultimately resulting in a line of directional, sophisticated designs in the most luxurious fabrics. Celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Rachel Bilson, Eva Mendes and others became fast fans of the brands and list BCBGMAXAZRIA and Max Azria as staples in their wardrobes.
At the other end of the design spectrum is the Azrias’ highly exclusive collection of couture gowns, launched in February 2004 under the label Max Azria Atelier. Taking inspiration from the glamour and sensuality of Hollywood, Max and Lubov create opulent and elegant one-of-a-kind gowns for celebrity clients and red-carpet events. Sharon Stone, Halle Berry, Beyoncé Knowles, Alicia Keys, Lucy Liu, Fergie and others have walked the red carpet wearing Max Azria Atelier.
In 1998 BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP acquired the esteemed Hervé Léger fashion house, marking the first time in history that a French couturier had been absorbed by an American designer. The Azrias relaunched the Hervé Léger label in early 2007 with their own designs, which have since been embraced by celebrities such as Kate Winslet, Diane Kruger, Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez and Catherine Zeta-Jones. For Fall 2008, in addition to showing BCBCMAXAZRIA and Max Azria during New York Fashion Week, the Azrias presented the Hervé Léger by Max Azria collection. This marked the first time that an American designer produced three major fashion shows for three distinct collections during one New York Fashion Week.
The Fall 2008 season also witnessed the merging of the BCBGirls and To The Max collections to create one, comprehensive, young-contemporary lifestyle brand named BCBGeneration, which is designed for women of all generations seeking fashion that balances a feminine, sexy aesthetic with an eclectic, urban sensibility. In Fall 2009, the Group expanded again to include a new collection with teen superstar Miley Cyrus, appropriately titled Miley Cyrus & Max Azria, that retails exclusively at Walmart and offers customers affordable and trend-right apparel. Arriving in stores in early August, the line includes tops, pants, graphic tees, shoes and accessories, all priced below $20.
On the business front, late August 2005 saw two strategic acquisitions important for the Group’s future growth: the France-based designer and distributor Alain Manoukian (renamed Manoukian in 2007) and the Spain-based designer and distributor Don Algod