With more than 500 retail stores worldwide and over 200 in the U.S., BCBGMAXAZRIA GROUP has dominated women’s fashion retail. The husband-wife team has nearly perfected the sexy, body-hugging dress to the likes of celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and First Lady Michelle Obama. Lubov Azria is the woman behind it all—BCBGMAXAZRIA, Hervé Léger and more. She and husband Max Azria were awarded Honorary Doctorate degrees from The Academy of Art University on Friday, where we got to sit down with her to talk about fashion, technology and keeping things fresh with Max in the design room. Join us as we get to know the lovely, Lubov Azria.
SWP: How did you know fashion was your official artistic choice of expression?
LA: I didn’t, it was a journey. I originally started as a Ballerina in Ukraine. And then, growing older, that wasn’t the right path for me and I also loved art. I wanted to be an art professor. But then I realized it wasn’t very profitable and very competitive and my alternate was fashion.
SWP: What is the biggest piece of advice you are giving to young fashion designers?
LA: Follow your dreams. And never give up. That alone, will take you far.
SWP: What was the first article of clothing you and Max ever designed together?
LA: Oh gosh, hmm… I think it was a suit made out of stretch satin.
SWP: In your opinion, what is the most important thing for people to consider when dressing themselves?
LA: Dress to your body shape. I think many people don’t realize they might not look good in certain shapes. Wear clothes that give you more shape. Women should dress based on their body shape not based on trends.
SWP: You’ve dressed many famous celebrities, but who have you not styled/dressed yet that you’d like to?
LA: That’s a good question. I love musicians so I’d really like to dress Blondie.
SWP: From Hervé Léger to the Miley Cyrus collaboration for Wal-Mart, you’ve created created a broad spectrum of clothing lines. Why is it important for you to have such diverse cornerstones of fashion retail?
LA: I think it’s exciting. There’s an opportunity that comes your way and it’s really good to experiment with it and see where it takes you. You know, life is a journey not a destination. So I think it’s good to experience collaboration and communication with other designers.
SWP: Which of you had the idea of revamping Hervé Léger, you or Max?
LA: We were both really passionate about it, it was teamwork. It’s very unique and truly special and truly couture. It’s been an artists’ dream to work on that line.
SWP: Do you still have the same passion you had from Day 1? If so, what keeps you so passionate?
LA: I believe my purpose in life, is to make things better. I wake up each morning with only one thought, ‘how do I make it better?’ And that’s what drives me every single day. Improve, make it better, grow, learn, evolve, change inspire.
SWP: You’ve said you find inspiration everywhere in your travels. Have you found inspiration from San Francisco?
LA: Oh my gosh, absolutely. This is my first time truly able to enjoy the city and, wow, the interior design here is incredible. The old mixed with the new—it’s incredibly inspirational. I didn’t realize how amazing this city is. I think when people talked about San Francisco—now, I have a totally new perspective.
SWP: Being that you are in the Silicon Valley at the moment, has technology had an impact on your businesses?
LA: Yes, it’s changed everything. My favorite app is iAnnotate, I can’t live without my iPhone and I’m constantly on my iPad. I use Skype with my kids when we’re apart and I, just… can’t image being without technology. I see a huge difference from when we first started designing. Social media has been incredible and the whole blogging industry has been a fantastic revolution. These women have something to say, have impeccable sense of style, are great writers and great communicators. I’m obsessed with them.
Gallery images by Randy Brooke / WireImage
Guest post from Jenn Elias, a freelance writer covering arts and innovation to the likes of Content Magazine, Metro Silicon Valley, Style Section L.A. and NBC Universal among others.