Max Azria 1949-2019

The youngest of six children, Max Azria was born in Sfax, Tunisia on January 1, 1949. He was educated in France and in 1970 began his career in fashion. In 1981 he immigrated to the United States and launched Jess, a woman’s apparel boutique in Los Angeles. 

Max Azria with second wife Lubov, who is the creative director at BCBGMaxAzrial

In 1989, Azria launched his BCBG brand. The name was derived from the French phrase ‘Bon chic, Bon genre’ a Parisian saying meaning ‘Good style, Good attitude.’ The label strove to produce designer fashion styles at affordable prices. Later labels followed, including the BCBG Max Azria Runway collection in 1996, Max Azra Atelier in 2004, and Max Azria in 2006. 

1998 was Max Azria’s year. He acquired Hervé Léger’s fashion house, and was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America. His relationship with Léger didn’t last long and the two parted, with Azria retaining the right to use Léger’s name. In 2007, Azria relaunched the Hervé Léger label. 

In 2008, Max Azria launched another collection aimed at a younger audience called BCBGeneration, and in 2009 he created a line with Miley Cyrus for Walmart called Miley Cyrus & Max Azria. 

BCBG, spring 2012

Sales dropped off as the company went into decline and the label became associated with cheap adolescent fashion. Azria left his own company in 2016 and the company filed for bankruptcy in 2017. It was subsequently sold to Marquee Brands. Azria died May 7, 2019.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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