Designer Max Azria.
The fashion world loves a good lawsuit, but the nine-complaint suit filed yesterday against Max Azria and BCBG is easily one of the strangest in recent memory.
According to WWD, the $220 million lawsuit concerns the sale of Playboy-branded condoms to Wal-Mart and Carrefour.
While the details are still a bit muddled, the gist of the lawsuit is that Azria allegedly struck a deal with businessman Jimmy Esebag, insisting he could convince giant retailers like Wal-Mart to carry the Playboy merch. According to the suit (as related by TMZ), Azria boasted: "I have a relationship with everybody. I am Max Azria. People are happy to have lunch with me. Anybody in America. Even the President of America ... I can sell anything to everybody."
Unfortunately for the designer, the lawsuit alleges that condoms were the one thing he was unable to sell. The suit seeks damages and also alleges that Azria misrepresented the strength of his own brand. (In another intriguing plot twist, Wal-Mart reportedly wasn't keen to pick up the product after a batch of Azria's clothing was found to have dangerously high levels of lead, TMZ reports.)
Azria's camp has denied all of the allegations. Moreover, WWD reports that the company and Esebag already went head-to-head in March 2011: “Max was victorious in the prior arbitration relating to this matter, and we are confident he will also be victorious in the present lawsuit,” a spokesperson told WWD.