Max Azria, the founder of fashion brand BCBGMAXAZRIA and longtime designer of celeb-favorite Hervé Léger, has died at the age of 70. According to WWD, he passed away on Monday, May 6, at a hospital in Houston following a battle with lung cancer.
Born in Tunisia in 1949, the designer was raised in France before moving to the United States, and all of those cultures influenced his trend-driven design aesthetic.
He founded his eponymous brand in 1989, and quickly became a favorite of stars like Drew Barrymore, Fergie and Halle Berry. In addition to its red carpet atelier and New York Fashion Week collections, BCBG, which is a French acronym for “bon chic, bon genre,” (i.e. good style, good attitude), had a ready-to-wear component that could be found in department stores and its own boutiques around the globe.
Building on his successful, celeb-fave occasion wear business, Azria acquired French fashion label Hervé Léger in 1998, and he relaunched the couturier in 2007 with his now infamous curve-hugging bandage dresses that immediately became a red carpet staple (hi, Kim Kardashian and fam!).
In 2008, he debuted a younger, contemporary line, BCBGeneration, with the help of his oldest daughter, Joyce. But by 2016, the BCBGMAXAZRIA Group was dealing with financial troubles and Azria left the company. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection the following year and was ultimately acquired by Marquee Brands.
A newly reimagined BCBGMAXAZRIA celebrated its 30th anniversary in January 2019 with the release of its spring-summer 2019 Modern Goddess campaign starring Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. In an effort to revitalize the brand’s image, celeb stylist Kate Young has joined as creative consultant alongside creative director Bernd Kroeberof. The late founder’s wife, Lubov, meanwhile, serves as creative director of the BCBGMAXAZRIA Group.
Azria is survived by his wife and six children.