The stylist and model are helping steer the iconic American brand in a new direction after it filed for bankruptcy in 2017
BCBGMAXAZRIA is turning 30 this year, and as fans of the brand know, it’s going through some changes.
Its founder, Max Azria, left his namesake line in 2016 as the company was in decline. It filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and was taken over by Marquee Brands, which also owns Body Glove and Bruno Magli.
But it seems as if something positive has come from all the growing pains — and starting this month, BCBGMAXAZRIA is kicking off a fresh approach to its signature contemporary, cool look.
To start, celebrity stylist Kate Young — who works with Michelle Williams, Selena Gomez, Nina Dobrev and more celebs — is the brand’s new creative consultant, a role that allows her to provide input on the overall direction of the designs in collaboration with creative director Bernd Kroeber. She also curates each month’s collection into a drop that’s equal parts trendy and fashion-forward.
“I look at each lineup and try and make sure that it feels right to me with what’s going on [in fashion],” Young tells PEOPLE in an interview about her new gig. She notes that her feedback can range from making sure “that they’re not missing some color that I feel everybody wants right now” to confirming that the right pieces are included like “a cropped trouser or a piece of leather.”
Young, a true tastemaker of today’s red carpet fashion, says she’s happy to play a pivotal role in the next chapter of the iconic American brand’s story, especially since it reaches so many women.
“BCBG is a place where people can get clothes for all of the different facets of their life,” she says. “It’s a brand that’s supposed to provide something to meet all of your needs and be on trend, but approachable and not super intimidating. It’s designer clothing, but it’s not so expensive that it’s out of everyone’s reach. Plus, it’s something a lot of people have really strong, good memories of, like proms and good parties.”
Her first release as a creative consultant hits bcbg.com this week, and includes striped separates, bodycon dresses, and her favorite, pastel yellow suiting.
“I feel like the suiting looks really modern in those colors,” Young says. “I think a suit is an interesting thing to wear right now. They were out of style for so long, and I think we’re all trying to feel really strong and look really powerful at work, but we also don’t want to dress like men. There’s something really nice about wearing a suit in a feminine color.”
She also says suits are a worthy investment: “Suits look good together, but they’re also easy to break up. It’s easy to wear a blazer with jeans when you’re more casual, and a trouser with a sweater and sandals in the spring. It’s something that you can buy that you can wear a lot of ways. It’s very flexible.”
In addition, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is the face of BCBGMAXAZRIA’s new direction, and she models some of the new pieces, from a halter jumpsuit to a dusty pink trench, in the new campaign.
“Rosie’s really inspiring,” Young says of working with the model. “She’s known to be a successful businesswoman, she’s a mom, she’s obviously super gorgeous, she’s fit. Her street style’s super cute. She fits the image that we have of the ideal BCBG woman. Most of our customers are juggling a lot. They have a lot going on, and so does Rosie — and she looks really chic all of the time, despite that. That’s why she’s the perfect girl for the campaign.”
Whiteley says the “campaign was about relaying the message of fearless femininity that is woven throughout this collection,” and it was all about telling “the message of this collection of today’s fearless, strong woman.”
In general, Young hopes her new gig will inspire women to have more fun with fashion.
“I think there has been a little bit of women not really caring and things got so basic for a while and dark,” says Young. “I hope that this line appeals to people and makes them want to go shop. It’s the best feeling when you put on a piece of clothing that makes you feel attractive and cool, and you know that if you’re doing an important meeting or going to a party where your ex-boyfriend’s going to be, you want to look amazing.”
Adds the celebrity stylist: “I hope that these clothes give women that kind of feeling where they feel their best. That confidence is really magic. That’s the point of fashion.”