Max Azria, Fashion Icon and Founder of BCBG, Dies at 70

The designer reportedly died from lung cancer

Designer Max Azria Passes away
Photo: STAN HONDA/Getty

Max Azria, founder of the iconic American fashion brand BCBGMAXAZRIA, died on Monday, May 6, in a Houston hospital, WWD reported. He was 70.

According to the outlet, the legendary Tunisian-born designer died of lung cancer. BCBGMAXAZRIA did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Azria, who moved to the United States in 1981 after designing women’s clothing in Paris for 11 years, launched BCBGMAXAZRIA in 1989. His brand was a staple among runways and celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian, Drew Barrymore and Selena Gomez.

During its height, his company had 500 stores worldwide, and many of his designs were carried across major department stores as well.

Max Azria Passes Away

“Max had the vision of a superstar,” Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association in Los Angeles, told California Apparel News. “He reached for the moon. He established a brand that was worldwide.”

Azria was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers in 1998 and in 2008 he launched BCBGeneration — a younger label — appointing his oldest daughter, Joyce, as the creative director.

In 2016, Azria left his namesake line, BCBGMAXAZRIA, 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.

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The company has gotten back on it’s feet since its decline, showing a new, fresh approach to its signature looks earlier this year with new celebrity stylist Kate Young — who works with Michelle Williams, Selena Gomez, Nina Dobrev and more celebs — as the brand’s new creative consultant, continuing the legacy that Azria started.

Azria is survived by his wife, Lubov Azria, creative director at BCBGMaxAzria Group, and his six children, son Michael and daughters Chloe, Marine, Agnes, Anais and Joyce.

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