LOS ANGELES — BCBG Max Azria Group is bringing more European flair to the American market.

This story first appeared in the July 25, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

At the end of the month, the Los Angeles-based company will launch Manoukian, the French brand it acquired in 2005, in 22 Lord & Taylor stores. Max Azria’s daughter Joyce, who oversees the young contemporary brand BCBGeneration, has been named creative director of Manoukian.

“This way, it was seamless to take all the operations to Los Angeles,” said the younger Azria. “I totally get the brand aesthetic and I have a good sensibility for the European market and growth opportunities in the U.S.”

The strong brand identity of Manoukian, which has a 40-year history, made it an attractive acquisition for BCBG Max Azria Group. “My dad is very aggressive on acquiring businesses with a strong DNA, and it brings a lot of weight with its name,” she said.

Manoukian has 69 stores in Europe in France, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg, and wholesales in 16 Karstadt stores in Germany. At this time, BCBG Max Azria Group has no plans to open Manoukian retail stores in the U.S., but it does have an online strategy that includes e-tailers like Amazon.com.

The sportswear collection, which retails for under $200, fills a classification at Lord & Taylor for women past the contemporary market who still want fashion-forward looks.

“I feel like women in this category have such limited options, they’re either classic or basic. So we are pushing a little more fashion for her. There’s eyelet detail on a boatneck top, a leather sleeve, colorblocking,” said Azria. While Manoukian sells a range of accessories in Europe, Lord & Taylor is only carrying the apparel range.

“This will sit adjacent to brands like Vince Camuto, T Tahari, Michael Michael Kors and Ivanka Trump,” said Liz Rodbell, executive vice president and chief merchant for Hudson’s Bay Co., which owns Lord & Taylor and The Bay. “I would call it a modern fit. It’s not a contemporary fit like BCBG; it’s more forgiving.”

While Rodbell declined to give sales projections, she said, “There’s a lot of business in that $100 to $200 range.”

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