Born: Stfax, Tunisia, 1949
Max Azria, a fashion luminary, embarked on his sartorial journey as a child when his family relocated to the chic landscape of France. His formative years in southeastern France were followed by a pivotal move to the heart of haute couture, Paris, in 1963.
In the style mecca of Paris, Azria’s design prowess began to take shape, focusing his creative energies on women’s clothing. In 1981, he made a transatlantic leap to Los Angeles, where he introduced Jess, a collection of boutiques exuding the essence of French elegance for women.
Azria’s pinnacle moment arrived in 1989 with the launch of BCBGMAXAZRIA, christened after the enchanting French phrase ‘bon chic, bon genre.’ His collection radiated an air of sophisticated French allure, captivating not only fashion-forward celebrities but also savvy shoppers with its accessible pricing, defying the exclusivity of high-end fashion houses. The runway debut at New York Fashion Week in 1996 solidified his influence.
Awards poured in during the late ’90s, culminating in his appointment to the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1998. That same year, he made history by acquiring the venerable Hervé Léger fashion house, marking him as the first American designer to possess a French couturier.
Azria expanded his fashion empire in 1999 by introducing a plus-size line under his label. In 2004, Max Azria Atelier made its entrance, showcasing exquisite couture gowns destined for the celebrity elite and red carpets. Collaborating with his wife, Lubov, they unveiled Max Azria, a ready-to-wear collection in 2006. Their creations emanated a unique style, characterized by weightless volume and individualism, inspired by the organic world.
The following year saw the reviving the Hervé Léger label with his own distinctive designs. His capsule summer collection graced select department stores and boutiques. In 2008, the grandeur of Hervé Léger by Max Azria debuted at New York Fashion Week.
Max Azria’s role as the CEO, chairman, and creative visionary of BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP solidified his status as a global fashion powerhouse, boasting over 550 boutiques worldwide. He was not just a designer but also a strategic genius in the retail arena, continually shaping the fashion landscape.
The brand aesthetic, characterized by its elegance and simplicity, offered a postmodern perspective on beauty. His recent collections signaled an evolution beyond his earlier minimalistic approach.
In a historic moment during Fall 2008’s New York Fashion Week, the company achieved a remarkable feat by presenting three major fashion shows: BCBG Max Azria Runway, Max Azria, and Hervé Léger by Max Azria, cementing his reputation as the trailblazing American designer.
Expanding his influence in 2008, was launched BCBGeneration, a collection tailored to the young contemporary audience. He ventured into high-profile collaborations, teaming up with Miley Cyrus to create the “Miley Cyrus & Max Azria” line and designing attire for her American tour in 2009.
In 2016, Azria’s departure from BCBG Group coincided with the company’s challenges, ultimately leading to its 2017 bankruptcy and subsequent acquisition by Marquee Brands and Global Brands Group.
Post-fashion career, Max Azria ventured into the startup realm, assuming the role of CEO and partner at ZappLight, a company pioneering a revolutionary “2-in-1” LED light bulb and bug zapper.
An icon of the global fashion milieu left an indelible mark with BCBG Max Azria Group’s over 550 boutiques, gracing specialty stores and prestigious department stores across the globe.
On May 6, 2019, Max Azria bid adieu to the world at the age of 70, after bravely battling lung cancer. His legacy lives on through his six children, including Joyce Azria, who assumed the mantle of creative director for BCBGeneration in 2009.
Max Azria Biography