BCBG Max Azria, the Los Angeles-based clothing and accessory manufacturer, has announced its purchase of the majority interest in the French fashion house of Herve Leger. The sale marks the first time an American company has acquired a French designer-couturier.
Leger, who showed his first collection under his own label in 1992, became best known for his sexy "bandage dresses," so named because they were constructed of bands of elasticized fabric. The striking gowns were often seen at Hollywood events on actresses including Fran Drescher, Christine Lahti and Gillian Anderson.
Since 1989, designer and owner Max Azria has guided BCBG's steady growth. The company, which reported $141 million in sales last year, owns and operates 60 free-standing boutiques in North America and Japan, and its collections are also sold in major department stores.
"Fashion is my passion, and I respect the creativity that you find in its different levels," Azria said. "Leger is an artist, and the synergy between that kind of French company and our American operations will strengthen our global presence, which is extremely important to our future."
BCBG has earned a loyal following by delivering well-made, stylish merchandise at reasonable prices, while Azria has successfully waged a battle for acceptance from New York-based fashion media quick to dismiss a California designer. The Leger acquisition will further enhance BCBG's image.