Luca Luca has been acquired by The Equitium Group, a Miami-based investment firm that specializes in the consumer and luxury industries and also owns Caswell-Massey IP LLC, the personal grooming company.
This story first appeared in the May 23, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
With a new owner, Luca Luca plans to rev up its expansion plans domestically and abroad. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Luca Luca president Yildiz Blackstone said Thursday that the company had been working with the Astor Group, a New York-based firm that helps creative companies sell their businesses, and had actively been in talks with potential investors since the beginning of the year. With Equitium’s financial infusion, Luca Luca plans to extend its reach by opening more freestanding stores and entering new markets in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, she said. Moscow, Dubai and Istanbul are of particular interest since the designer label already has seen some success there, Blackstone said. “It’s interesting that emerging markets definitely recognize the value of Luca Luca,” she said.
Since its inception in 1992, Luca Luca has opened freestanding stores in New York; Miami; Bal Harbour, Fla.; Palm Beach, Fla.; Chicago, and Dallas — each of which is 1,000 to 1,200 square feet. Going forward, the company plans to introduce stores that are upward of 1,500 square feet and will carry a greater variety of products.
Luca Luca is sold in 30 stores in the U.S. and in about 15 internationally, Blackstone said. The new strategy will involve selling to additional stores, opening bigger flagships and distributing the collection in larger cities. She declined to comment on volume or projections.
Designed by founder Luca Orlandi, the collection features eveningwear, dresses, shoes and handbags that are sold to high-end specialty stores in the U.S. and abroad. The Equitium Group managing partner Amir R. Amir said, “We are extremely impressed with Luca Luca’s beautiful and elegant designs, exceptional attention to quality and its deeply embedded customer relationship-oriented culture.”
Under Equitium, there are plans to expand the accessories business, which Blackstone described as “very small.” Belts will be among the first new categories to be added.
Having had some success with a few fur coats, Luca Luca plans to expand its outerwear collection, Blackstone said. The sportswear offerings also will be increased.
This is the first fashion label to be acquired by Equitium, but the boutique investment firm has been eager to add one to its portfolio. Principal Friedrich W. von Tucher said, “It’s definitely been a priority for us, given we are Miami-based and are surrounded by luxury and wealth. That’s something we face on a daily basis.”
Additional fashion labels may be added down the road, but nothing immediate is in the works, Von Tucher said. “It all depends on the opportunity. We are always looking for great companies, but it has to be the right brand and the right fit.”