WWD: It was the show, rather than the idea of becoming a producer, that spurred you to form a production company. How did it happen?
Max Azria: It was Paris 2001, and I was reading a newspaper article about Elie Chouraqui, who created the musical, and I said, “Oh my gosh, that is such a strong idea.” Especially at this moment when the world is in such trouble, it’s very apropos. So I called and said, “I want 100 tickets for the first night.” Two months later, I was back in Paris. I met with my partner, Charles Cohen, and I said, “This show is mine. I’ll pay for it, I’ll produce it.” Naturally, he said, “Are you joking? It’s not your job.” I said, “I will make it my job.” After opening night, I went to dinner in Rouen with Elie, and at midnight, we wrote a contract on a paper towel. I’m not joking.
WWD: Why did you select Hollywood as a venue over New York, which is better known for theater?
M.A.: Los Angeles is where I see the creativity of the entertainment industry. For the last five years, we’ve seen fashion and entertainment become closer than ever. For the last two years, there’s been no fashion book without an actress on the cover. Now, what entrepreneur wouldn’t dream of developing a house of entertainment? I will have so much fun with this, because entertainment is a lot like fashion. It’s the same gymnastics of the spirit. We always have to have vision and to look forward.