Albino Riganello Tapped as Creative Director of BCBG Group

BCBG Group’s new creative director, Albino Riganello, is breathing new life into the 32-year-old contemporary company.

Riganello, who began in his role Sept. 7, has been working on a fall 2022 BCBG Max Azria collection that he will present in February exclusively for BCBG.com.

Most recently, Riganello was design director for sustainable contemporary brand Amur. He began his career working with Alessandro Dell’Acqua and has held design roles at Dolce & Gabbana, St. John and Givenchy, where he was the women’s pre-collection design director under Riccardo Tisci, before moving on to evening couture house Zuhair Murad. During his career, he also held design roles at JLo, Sweetface, L.A.M.B., Elie Tahari and SemSem.

“I am honored to begin my new role as BCBG Group’s creative director. BCBG Max Azria is an iconic brand that holds so much history in its DNA and I’m looking forward to taking the brand forward into its next chapter. Today we live in a completely different reality than years ago and a women’s wardrobe is drastically evolving with the time. I will always have a woman’s needs in mind while designing for BCBG Max Azria; emphasizing femininity, sensuality and that modern aspect that the brand is known for.”

Some of Albino Riganello’s sketches for BCBG Max Azria for fall 2022.
courtesy image.

He noted that he’s a consultant to the brand, but it’s his main focus.

Since 2017, BCBG Max Azria has been owned by Marquee Brands.

Diane Bekhor, senior vice president of BCBG Group, said, “We are thrilled that Albino Riganello will bring his substantial knowledge and fashion industry experience to the BCBG team. Albino has an impeccable eye and extensive knowledge of the evening business, which is what BCBG Max Azria is known for.”

The role of creative director is a new one under Marquee Brands, and Riganello reports to Bekhor.

Riganello will also introduce designs for BCBGeneration further into 2022.

Based in New York, Riganello said he’s excited about the brand’s prospects and what he will bring to the company.

 “I’m a huge fan of the brand. I moved to the States in 2003, and in Italy, I always had an amazing view of the BCBG Max Azria women and brand. I was extremely excited to be approached by the brand and I found it very iconic obviously,” he said. “What I would like to do is not to forget what Max Azria actually brought to the game. I would like to emphasize colorblocking and pleating, which is actually also part of my DNA.”

Riganello said he has always worked with brands that were very feminine. Citing his background with Dell’Acqua, St. John and Givenchy, he said there’s a feminine element to his design aesthetic that he will bring to BCBG Max Azria.

“Obviously things changed a lot the last couple of years. I have that in mind,” he said. However, he said, the collection will still be aimed at that woman who is strong, independent and modern. “I hope I can bring very democratic and understandable clothes without giving up femininity and the flowy factor that was very much in the DNA of BCBG Max Azria,” he said.

Riganello will begin overseeing all BCBG categories to present a cohesive message, but initially he’ll focus on the BCBG Max Azria capsule collection that will feature both eveningwear and sportswear.

Asked whom he considers the BCBG woman, Riganello said last summer he had a layover in Venice and was thinking about one of his icons, Peggy Guggenheim, the late American art collector and socialite. What he said he liked about her was that she was strong, modern, independent and visionary. “That’s the component that I would like to bring to my ideal client,” he said.

Albino Riganello

Albino Riganello
Kamylis McLean

“I’m a very practical person. l have a lot of women friends who work in different fields, but they seem to have all of the same needs,” he said. “If I can summarize my message to the brand, I want women to feel good about themselves, and what they’re wearing. It’s also clothes, so I like to keep a little bit of fun.”

Further, he said, he wants to design a wardrobe that works with pieces that women already have. He believes in investment pieces and everything should be well-thought-out.

While this capsule will be strictly direct-to-consumer, BCBG Max Azria and BCBGeneration are still in major department stores with its licensed products, which are licensed to the Levy Group.

Riganello said his prior experience at Sweetface and JLo, where he worked for several years, gave him a good introduction to American sportswear, as well working at Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. He most recently worked for Amur, a sustainable brand, and sustainability is something he’d like to bring to BCBG Max Azria.

Riganello estimates that 40 percent of the capsule will be day-to-evening wear and 60 percent will be sportswear.

“Even in evening, it’s not necessarily a dress or gown. I love to talk about separates. Separates are more of an investment piece. You can wear that piece in several ways. I don’t want this dress to be worn one night and then be in the closet. In New York, we don’t have much space to store clothes. I like to have the longevity of the garment. That’s the practicality. I’d like her to have multiple choices and multiple uses,” he said.

The designer is also pushing knitwear, such as separates and sweaters. “That’s the natural progression for me, going from sweatpants that we’ve been wearing the last two years,” he said. He’s designing with cashmeres and beautiful fibers, and working with French and Italian manufacturers. While he is primarily manufacturing in China, he’s also producing in Italy and New York.

As for what one might expect with the eveningwear, he said there will be an emphasis on colorblocking, pleating and flowy chiffon. “There will be very interesting cuts I can’t wait to share with everybody — very unexpected cuts on the body,” he said.

Marquee Brands, the New York-based brand management firm purchased the intellectual property for the BCBG Max Azria and BCBGeneration brands as part of BCBG’s exit from bankruptcy proceedings in July 2017. BCBG had filed for bankruptcy court protection in February 2017, and company founder Max Azria and creative director Lubov Azria were no longer involved with the fashion house. Max Azria died in 2019.

Earlier this month, BCBG Max Azria signed a deal with luxury lingerie company Cosabella for an assortment of linger, innerwear and sleepwear. In 2020, BCBG struck  a licensing deal with The Levy Group for the design, production and distribution of ready-to-wear, dresses, activewear and swimwear for the BCBG Max Azria and BCBGeneration brands.

 

FOR MORE STORIES: 

EXCLUSIVE: Cosabella Partners With BCBG Max Azria for Lingerie, Sleepwear Collab

BCBG Licenses Levy Group for Rtw, Activewear, & Swim

SemSem Taps Albino Riganello as Design Director

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