It’s about that time to say au revoir to father-daughter duo Joyce and Max Azria. As former creative director of the contemporary BCBGeneration line, Joyce is finally calling quits to the family business as she debuts her own line, Avec Les Filles.
Joyce took the job designing BCBG’s swimwear line straight out of college, only to move up the family ranks by becoming the creative director of the younger ‘Generation’ brand in 2009. Her recent solo career move is the BCBG baby’s first flight from the family nest, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Joyce isn’t the only Azria on her way out of the BCBG empire. In March, Max stepped down from his chief executive position at BCBGMaxAzria Group, thus relinquishing his majority stakeholder position to Guggenheim Partners. With ownership in the fritz, perhaps it was best for Joyce to try things on her own.
Azria tells WWD, “Everything was changing. I had been super happy running Generation and seeing it grow, but it was very much from behind the veil of my father’s company. It was time to take a more primary role in my own brand.”
And Avec Les Filles does just that, as Joyce targets the modern millennial woman. A woman who, similar to Joyce, is testing the waters of independence and searching for an ultra posh wardrobe to compliment her. According to Azria, she’s a woman who is unafraid to indulge in life’s finer things, and while monitoring a budget, she’ll find her way to that pair of Jimmy Choos.
Following that vision, Azria’s brand will not start at the typical millennial price range, rather she says, “Most brands aimed at Millennials start around price, but we know that girls shop up for accessories. She can buy Chanel off Tradesy and get her clothes at Target. She’ll figure out a way to afford that Rebecca Minkoff bag.”
The spring 2017 collection for Avec Les Filles is set to launch this week at Los Angeles Market. The collection will feature higher-end products like leather handbags, jackets and fine jewelry while shoes, hats, scarves and hosiery will round out the more moderately priced category. Prices will range from $18 to $600. And when queried on the rather large retail gap, Joyce explained, “Girls shop high and low, and retailers can decide where certain products work for them.”
Speaking of working for them, Joyce’s French-inspired fashion house and its consumers will know the face behind their style choices. BCBG’s original intent just 30 years ago. ‘Bon chic, Bon genre,’ meaning ‘good style, good attitude.’ Max Azria initiated this sentiment of fashion with a face, fashion by the designer – providing a face for consumers to identify with upon their purchase of the brand. Joyce’s Avec Les Filles, meaning ‘With the Girls,’ carries the same elements of transparency and commitment to the customer.
Joyce says, “The trend of a celebrity-driven brand is waning. Millennials want a real connection with a designer-led brand, not actors or singers who have had other mediums for success.”
However, like any solo career, there is wary of hesitation. And with a renowned family like the BCBG clan, critics wonder just how talented Joyce Azria is on her own merit. To this, Joyce does not waver in her affection for her family or negate their influence on the woman she is today:
“When people say, ‘Aren’t you worried people will think you got this far because of your family?’ I say, ‘I did. They taught me everything.’ My parents are still sounding boards. I go to my uncle with every investor question. They are part of everything I do, but I had to take this one alone.”
Azria is anxious to debut her work and excited for what’s in store for the brand, adding a token of advice she still carries from her father, “He always said ‘In fashion if you’re not going to take a risk, then you are dead before you’ve started.’”
We’re equally anxious to see Joyce Azria’s risk come to fruition this week as she launches her Avec Les Filles collection. Will we see remnants of the beloved BCBGeneration brand? Or will we witness an entirely unique, breakout career begin?
With Joyce’s uncle, Serge Azria, as the owner of Joie, her stepmother the creative director of Hervé Leger and dear old dad imparting his fashion mogul wisdom – we believe successful contemporary fashion simply runs in the family.