Thursday, June 14, 2012

Luca Luca Pulls Out on Madison and Then Some

Rewind back to 1999 when I "officially" joined the press corp Luca Luca was a design house who by that timw had hit its full stride! A must attend" show with top models and killer clothes. The man behind all this was designer Luca Orlandi, a pleasant men with a wonderful personality to match; he was on top of the world.  The years rolled on and the company did fine gaining editorial spreads in all the major fashion magazine.

In 2008 Mr. Orlandi hired a new creative director Raul Melgoza, a finance major from the University of Southern California who then attend Parsons School Of Design and graduated top of his class. Shortly after this took place Mr. Orlandi sold his company to Equitium Group which is a company formed from ex McKinsey employes, they also hold Caswell & Massey.

By this time the cracks had started to show within the company. I can recall from personal experience being invited to a show, getting phone calls, reconfirming, only to be told a week before the show would start that I could not attend? This went on for about a season and a half and by then I was OVER THEM! As well the quality in the clothing seemed to be going in a different direction as well the design, in short Luca Luca had lost its edge. The personal treatment alone would send any fashion editor worth his or her salt away from this house.

Within the slow demise of this house there is one winner, and that winner is Mr. Orlandi himself! 2008 began the economic collapse which we are still facing to this day, did Mr. Orlandi see something we missed or was it a case of building a great fashion house and getting top dollar for it? I'll never know but we have seen this happen with other house like Rochas which was bought by Proctor & Gamble who had the license to the fragrance, shorty after the house closed.

In its heyday Luca Luca had two stores on Madison Ave, the first its flagship at 63rd Street and Madison which now houses the Hermes mens store and the other on 1011 Madison 78th street. With now no presence in New York City what about the other boutique locations? I called chicago and Worth Avenue in Palm Beach both lines dead. The only shop still running is Maimi- Coral Gables. I would think due to a bad a economy and a cheap rent the Equitium can keep the store running.

The real question will be in September when the shows happen, will Luca Luca be in the running? If not I think we then know the fate of this once great fashion house.

Luca Orlandi
Luca Runway: