By  on April 7, 2005

NEW YORK — BCBG Max Azria and BCBGirls will welcome denim into their collections for fall.

“We flirted with it a bit for years. We wanted to impose ourselves as a lifestyle brand and not just a jeansmaker,” said Max Azria, chairman and chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based BCBG Max Azria. “Can we survive in America without denim?” Azria asked playfully. “It’s like being an Italian and not eating spaghetti.”

The introduction of denim was part of the brand’s “natural growth,” as Azria called it. The BCBG Max Azria collection is inspired by vintage details and combines the saddle stitch of the BCBG signature bag collection. The women’s collection, produced from Japanese denim, will include five fits — four of which are named for Azria’s daughters (Agnes, Chloe, Marina and Joyce. The fifth style, Mia, a low-waisted, skinny-leg style, is named for a designer).

Azria said that, while new styles will be introduced to the denim collections each season, his focus is on improving what is already in front of him. “We will probably introduce a style or two in the two collections each year, but we want to stay a bit longer on each cut and improve style.”

The washes range from a deep, saturated shade of blue to a lighter blue, vintage shade. The wholesale price range is between $63 and $118. The collection will be available at all BCBG Max Azria stores as well as key department stores and specialty stores in August. Novelty fabrics such as “true blue retro stretch denim” and “fine count broken twill denim” will be introduced as the season progresses.

“It’s easy these days to mix denim with a beautiful blouse,” said Azria. “It’s easy to mix fashion and trends.” Azria said he predicts the wholesale volume for both collections to reach “between $30 million and $40 million,” though, he added, “denim goes very fast, so it all depends.”

“But we’re optimistic,” he added.

The BCBGirls denim collection also will consist of five styles made from midweight ringspun stretch denim or 100 percent cotton midweight ring denim. The inspiration for the girls’ collection was rock ’n’ roll.

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