After spending the past 12 years in what is, by Beverly Hills standards, a rather modest home—no walk-in refrigerator, no backyard waterfall—designer Max Azria finally decided he was ready for an upgrade. And so later this year, he, his wife, Lubov, and their three young daughters are moving to a four-acre property—boasting a Moroccan spa, a Japanese garden and a private movie theater—in the posh L.A. neighborhood of Holmby Hills. “We found our dream home,” Lubov says. “We are very lucky.”
And not only when it comes to real estate. Since 1989, Azria has built a billion-dollar fashion empire on the strength of his trendy yet relatively affordable clothing collections (which include the BCBG Max Azria, BCBGirls and To the Max lines). But now the Tunisian-born, Paris-raised Azria, 57, is earning acclaim—and a diehard celebrity following—for his high-end designs. There’s the two-year-old Max Azria Atelier line of couture gowns, which in just the past few months has made red carpet appearances on the backs of everyone from Beyoncé to Amanda Bynes. There’s also the luxe Max Azria label (think wool sweaters and silk dresses for around $1,000); in August, Azria opened the first freestanding Max Azria boutique (on Melrose Avenue in L.A.), and he will unveil four more by the end of the year.
And then there’s the fall debut of his first menswear collection, called BCBG//Attitude. Although the initial line will consist of casual, moderately priced apparel—such as corduroy sports jackets and denim—Azria will launch more expensive men’s items in the spring. “Finally I can wear my clothes!” he says, in his thick French accent.
Now if only he could get some sleep. Azria often works 18-hour days—alongside Lubov, 38, an ex-ballerina whom he married in 1992 and who is his company’s creative director—and spends about 150 days a year on the road. “In one week I met with seven people in seven different cities in five days,” says Azria, who owns a private jet. “That’s the kind of work that you need a machine to help you!”
Even so, he and Lubov manage to take three family vacations a year (Azria has three older children from his first marriage), and to set aside weekends for their girls: Chloe, 12, Anais, 10, and Agnes, 9. “Max plays backgammon with the whole gang,” Lubov says. Then there are the raucous Shabbat dinners that Azria, who is Jewish, hosts nearly every Friday night, drawing up to 80 guests. “I’m not religious,” he says, “but overall I’m a principled person, so it’s okay.”
And despite his more upscale image these days, some old habits die hard. Take Azria’s lunch hour, which he doesn’t spend at hot spots like the Ivy or Nobu. “It’s always In-N-Out Burger,” he admits. “I love the fries.”