DALLAS — Max Azria was lauded for his design and business acumen Saturday night at the Dallas Fashion Awards gala.

This story first appeared in the October 31, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Rare indeed is the fashion entrepreneur who as a designer continues to thrill and as a businessman continues to challenge the marketplace,” said Bill Winsor, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Market Center, which presented Azria with its Fashion Excellence Award.

Azria, a native of Tunisia who began his career in Paris and built his fashion conglomerate, BCBG Max Azria Group, in Los Angeles, responded with humility.

“Today I am on top — tomorrow I can be zero, and I never take anything for granted,” Azria said. He thanked his wife and business partner, Lubov, and noted that BCBG will be 20 years old in April. The company has 22 brands, including the Hervé Léger collection of bandage dresses shown on the runway during the formal dinner at the Dallas Market Center.

One of the stars of AMC’s “Mad Men,” January Jones. presented the award to Azria.

“A lot of designers can make a beautiful dress, but it takes a visionary to capture a moment in time,” Jones said.

Before the ceremony, Jones said, “I’ve known Max for a while now. It all started when I went to Cannes [in 2005], and he dressed me for that whole trip. I’ve gotten to know him and his wife, and I was happy to come here and present this award.”

The winners of Dallas Fashion Awards in eight categories were: Marc Bouwer, who accepted the After 5 trophy for his Glamit! Collection; Sondra Roberts for accessories; Zelda for bridge/designer; Taka for casual contemporary; Kensie for contemporary; Florence Eiseman for children’s wear; Devon Leigh for jewelry, and Lynn Ritchie for modernwear.

The DMC also presented a Personal Style Award to Gianna Madrini, executive producer of Global Fashion News, a TV and film company whose production office is in Dallas. Madrini was recognized for mentoring young fashion professionals as well as her fashion sense.�