Max Azria's shows tend to have a few defining features: a flirty aesthetic, a neutral palette of fabrics, and — for the past umpteen seasons — an almost all-white cast of models. Yesterday, I asked him why that is.
Since the Spring 2000 season, Azria has never booked more than three models of color in any single show — and his are big shows, often comprising more than 40 outfits. In fact, for a seven-season stretch in the middle of the decade, Azria hired an all-white cast for every single show he mounted. Since then, the diversity of Azria's casting — and the diversity of the modeling industry in general — has hardly improved. Although the problem is certainly not limited to Azria — Calvin Klein and Prada are among those brands who seem to struggle to bring themselves to book models who aren't white — Azria is notable because he is a commercial designer with vast impact on the marketplace. After this past February's fashion week, which was even less diverse overall than previous seasons, I noted: