Chief Creative Officer, BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP
Posted on: February 1, 2012 | Go to profile
Taking inspiration from art, music, film and travel, Lubov leads a team of nearly 200 designers, patternmakers and associates as the Chief Creative Officer of the global fashion house, BGBGMAXAZRIAGROUP. Lubov believes that when her clothes make a woman happy, she makes everyone around her happy. And when she feels beautiful, she makes the world beautiful. Growing up as a ballet dancer in Ukraine, Lubov has infused her love of design and movement into her natural talent for illustration and passion for fashion as personal expression.
Q: Please share with us the story of how your professional journey began and has brought you to where you are today.
A: My earliest passions were in the arts, particularly the ballet. While living in Russia, I danced for what is similar to The Kirov today. I enjoyed my time as a ballerina but found myself increasingly drawn to the costumes.
I have always been interested in art. I spent my time drawing and sketching clothing. The official start of my career was when I realized I needed to find a practical application for my creativity and my parents encouraged fashion design. It was the ideal way for me to create a career for myself that still incorporated art.
I enrolled in a fashion institute and discovered my love for draping and patternmaking. I balanced work and school and had a job assisting a designer. The job turned out to be a great education. Later on, that experience made it easier to get a variety of jobs and gain diverse experience. When I met Max, that was a pivotal turning point – we started working together and from there brought our collective vision to life.
I truly love what I do and feel so lucky to be able to do what makes me happiest. Work is my heaven.
I’m very competitive by nature and am always looking for ways to make things better, which can be very time consuming. I’m a night owl and would say that I don’t really wake up until 6pm. In the evening my creative brain comes to life and that is when I am able to do my best work.
Q: What are 3 characteristics that you believe define great leadership?
A: I think it’s about having a vision and having the passion to find that vision. I also believe that it is important to inspire others. Finally, approaching everything with a strategy is key. It’s one thing to envision what a collection is going to look like and another to create a map of how you are going to execute it.
Q: Innovation requires creative thinking. How do you tap into the creative thinking resources within your business?
A: I work closely with every department as Chief Creative Officer. I’m truly aware of what everyone is doing – being so involved keeps me inspired. As an owner, much of your time is really spent managing, which can keep you away from being a creative thinker so at the same time it is also important to let go. I put a lot of trust in my team and encourage them as much as possible.
Q: It is hard to focus on the “big picture” sometimes because we can get caught in the weeds of work and life. When does visioning come clearest or easiest for you? Or what inspires your vision?
A: Thinking outside the box. There’s a great story in Malcolm Gladwell’s, The Tipping Point. Imagine that you’re in a Porsche. There are two seats, each taken up. You’re driving down the road and you see three people standing there: one is a woman who’s having a heart attack and you don’t know her; the next person is your best friend for life and the other is the love of your life. You can only put one person in the car. Who would you put?
The question was asked at a job interview. There’s really no right answer, but the answer that the interviewer was looking for was something out of the box. The answer they were looking for could have been you get out of the car, give the keys to your best friend to drive the ill woman and you stay with the love of your life.
Things come to me everyday but it is not about reacting immediately to it… I have to step back and reflect. It’s not a yes or no; it’s about getting out of the car and taking that chance. It’s not about right or wrong. Surviving during a recession is about getting out of the car. It’s about communicating and asking questions and looking at situations.
Q: What are your top three tips for networking?
A: Communicate! Get out there and be out there. And honesty in your true self-expression.
Q: What do you believe makes a great brand?
A: I think a great brand has consistency in their vision and a quality product. It’s important to never lose sight of what you’re producing. There are so many young designers around, but I truly admire the ones like Oscar de la Renta, who have been doing it for many years and are still producing phenomenal work.
Q: What are you most passionate about, and how do you incorporate it into your career or everyday life?
A: As a child, I always wanted to make things better. I think that is the question that I wake up to every single day, “How do I make it better?” and that is what drives my every single day — my passion, creativity…everything in my life.
ON Taking Risk
Q: What has been your greatest risk so far and how was it rewarding?
A: I think staying in business during a recession requires a certain level of risk. When the business is soft, having the passion to keep going instead of giving up… when everyone around you is closing down…and you’re hanging in there. I hope to be in business for the next 100 years.
ON Giving Back
Q: What cause(s) have you chosen to support and why does it resonate with you?
A: Many of the causes we choose center around children. Children’s health and education are first. Children are our future and I have six of my own. The next would be art because in the next 10 years we don’t know what’s going to happen and unless you have creative thinking, this world is not going to be growing and evolving and changing.
Q: In the world, what are your three favorite destinations?
A: My first is Asia. I love Tokyo and Japan. It’s such a different culture and I’m just always amazed by it. I love going to places I’ve never been to… Prague was remarkable. It’s very exciting to go to places that have not been changed by the western world. You feel true culture.
Q: In the world, what are your favorite places to get lost?
A: Anywhere on a beach.
Q: In the world, what are your favorite places to shop?
A: My favorite places to shop are flea markets, London on Dover Street and Barneys.
Q: In the world, what are your favorite places to eat?
A: I have one in Los Angeles called E baldi. I’m a very particular eater. My other favorite is a personal chef.
Q: What do you believe is the secret to finding the right person and maintaining a long term, good relationship?
A: I think having respect. It goes beyond love. If you respect, you love.
Q: What is your personal style?
A: Connoisseur with a visionary twist.
Q: What was your best buy ever?
A: When I was in Portobello Market about 10 years ago, I got this vintage snake bracelet. I got it for not a great, but a good, price considering it had diamonds (with enamel). When I was on King’s Road, they had a vintage store with similar bracelets in the window. I walked in and the woman offered me —let’s put it this way—30,000 pounds for it. But I kept it, of course, and it was appraised for a fortune.
Q: What are your favorite books?
A: Shantaram by Gregory Roberts, and anything by Malcolm Gladwell.
Q: What are the beauty items you could not live without?
A: My favorite balm is Aquaphor.