Lubov Azria Exits BCBG Max Azria

Lubov Azria - Getty - P 2017
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The designer leaves after more than 20 years with the L.A.-based company.

It's the end of an era at BCBG Max Azria: Lubov Azria is leaving the company after more than 20 years.

Azria, who first joined the BCBG Max Azria Group in 1991, served as chief creative officer and oversaw the group's labels, including BCBG Max AzriaHerve Leger and BCBGeneration. The 49-year-old designer met her now-husband, founder Max Azria, after joining the company and has long been the attractive blond figurehead of the L.A. brand.

Azria's decision to step down comes on the heels of BCBG filing for bankruptcy and closing its stores to shift its focus to e-commerce. Last year, 123 employees were laid off from its Vernon, Calif.-based offices. BCBG Max Azria Group is being advised by AlixPartners, LLP and Jefferies LLC for its debt load.

The retailer has replaced Azria with Bernd Kroeber as the executive vp and creative director. Kroeber previously worked with Hussein Chalayan, Donna Karan and Elie Tahari before joining BCBG in 2007.

Kroeber will lead the creative strategy of the group's three labels and oversee all design aspects. His first collection will debut for the spring 2018 season. He'll report directly to Marty Staff, interim acting CEO.

"He brings a creative aesthetic that meets the tastes of tomorrow with a complete respect and appreciation of BCBG's DNA. We are looking forward to his designs and ability to build on our strong foundation and further enhance it to realize our full potential in all areas of the business," said Staff, who replaced Max Azria after he left the company last year.

Added Kroeber in a statement: "I look forward to working with our executive team and with our global retail partners to bring modern contemporary fashion to today's consumer."

BCBG (which stands for "bon chic, bon genre") was founded by Max Azria in 1989 and became a favorite for high school proms and red carpets in the '90s and mid-2000s. Lauren Conrad, Camilla Belle and Miley Cyrus, who collaborated with Max on a short-lived Wal-Mart collection in 2009, were among the brand's famous fans. The company once boasted $1 billion in retail sales.