Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg

NEW YORK — These days Max Azria likes to refer to himself as “Mr. Double.”
That’s because his business — BCBG — has more than doubled in the past year.
This year’s annual sales are on track to exceed $160 million — compared to $72 million in 1996, said Azria, president and designer of the Los Angeles-based company, during a spring preview last week at the showroom here. And additional growth is planned.
With a jeans label to be introduced at retail in February, BCBG aims to build 1998 sales to $290 million.
A blue cracked leather zip-front jacket, a shimmer denim strapless dress and a cotton halter top with straps made of underwear waistbands are among the items in the 30-piece jeans line. Wholesale prices range from $30 to $120. The jeans collection should generate $30 million in wholesale sales in the first 12 months, Azria said.
Striking a balance between design and price is the key to developing a successful line, he said. There are many professionals who understand the importance of pricing but lack creativity — or vice versa, Azria said.
BCBG’s 200-piece spring sportswear includes such varied looks as a silk organza skirt with a shorter leather skirt designed to be worn together; a silk chiffon camisole, and a polyester sharkskin uniform-inspired suit.
Catering to fashion-forward women in their 20s and 30s is a key component of the company’s strategy to build sales, said Farah Ebrahimi, design director.
“They want quality but they’re also very practical. We’re not snobs about fabrics,” she said. “We believe the future is not about status but mixing luxurious fabrics with man-made fabrics.”

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