In the fashion industry, getting your line to the 25-year mark is a huge accomplishment worth celebrating.
That's why the BCBG Max Azria Group is opening the "Living the Bon Chic Life" retrospective at its corporate headquarters. "It's really been so emotional, I think I've been crying for the last three days," Chief Creative Officer Lubov Azria said on Thursday, two days before the exhibition opens to the public.
Azria has seen the business change drastically over the course of 25 years. When BCBG Max Azria first launched in 1989, online shopping wasn't a possibility, let alone social media. But those changes, which have come rapidly within the last decade, have been nothing but beneficial for the brand, says Azria.
"The only voice we had was doing our ad campaigns and Vogue or different magazines, and it was how everybody interprets your campaigns, how people perceive your brand," Azria says. "Now with social media, I think the ball is in our court and we can really go out there and talk about the brand and what inspired us, what our vision is."
Trends, too, have changed, which can prove challenging for a brand which has youth so deeply embedded in its DNA. It becomes crucial to balance finding new and exciting styles for the consumer with staying true to the brand's identity, all while attracting new customers.
Challenge though it may be, it doesn't worry Azria. "Well, I get older, [too]!" she says laughing. "Once you're in fashion and you love fashion, that's what inspires you." According to Azria, staying true to that inspiration and continuing to do what you love is the "magic" in getting to that 25-year mark.
One thing that hasn't changed for the brand is its participation in the shows at New York Fashion Week. As other designers reconsider the fashion week model, either by finding new venues to show their collections or forgoing the runway altogether, BCBG is as committed as ever to what Azria calls the "Super Bowl of Fashion."
"We love being part of fashion week -- we're part of the CFDA, and it's great to showcase with your colleagues," Azria tells Fashionista. "You have 10 minutes to tell the story and it's always challenging and it's always fun, and I think sometimes that's what keeps us going."
Even after 25 years of business, Azria sees considerable growth potential, both internationally and abroad. While she wouldn't give any specifics -- "Our focus right now is really to keep the DNA of the brand very focused and try not to do too many things," she says -- she did express hopes that the brand could add more categories going forward. "I think at BCBG we're creating a lifestyle brand," Azria says, citing home goods and lingerie as examples of potential for new products.
For now, Azria is still basking in the joy of BCBG's 25th anniversary. "From the beginning, we wanted to create something that appeals to a woman and makes her looks beautiful," she says. "I think that's what kept us going, how to we inspire a woman to be inspirational."
"Living the Bon Chic Life" opens to the public Saturday, May 3; more details can be found at Bon Chic Blog.