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LUCA LUCA STEPS OUT: Italian firm Luca Luca, known for its glitzy dresses and playful sportswear, is getting more serious about accessories. The company has had shoes for a few seasons and, for spring, it’s expanding its offerings into handbags, belts and hair accessories.
“This is a good way for us to expand our name,” said designer Luca Orlandi. “Accessories are a fantastic business for many houses and will give a little more muscle to our brand.”
Orlandi also said he has an “artistic desire” to expand into new design realms. The fabrics and styles of the accessories coordinate with Luca Luca’s spring ready-to-wear. Handbag styles include clutches in suede, and leather bags with flower appliqués and chains. Belts include wide sashes and styles with beads and semiprecious stones, and hairpins also have flowers and chain details. Most of the offerings are in soft pastel colors, such as pink and mint green.
Retail prices range from about $300 to $400 for shoes and $450 to $600 for handbags, and everything is made in Italy. Distribution will initially be at Luca Luca stores and a small selection of wholesale accounts.
The 11-year-old firm now has six stores worldwide and sells to about 40 stores in the U.S. Orlandi declined to give sales information, but said plans call for accessories to account for 5 to 10 percent of overall volume within the next few years.
NEW GALA SET: The Jewelry Information Center has initiated a new gala award ceremony called the Gem Awards, which will be held for the first time on Jan. 10. The black-tie awards ceremony will recognize members of the media who have given “superior coverage to fine jewelry, watches and related issues” and will also honor industry leaders. Michael Kowalski, president and chief executive officer of Tiffany & Co., will receive an award for the firm’s recent marketing campaign, and Gedalio “Gerry” Grinberg, the founder and chairman of Movado Inc., will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. The gala will be held at Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan.
CALYPSO’S NEW GIG: Calypso, the New York-based specialty retailer, has opened a store devoted exclusively to jewelry. The 320-square-foot shop, called Calypso Bijoux, is located on Mott Street in Manhattan, and features jewelry from about 25 designers, including Ericksen Beamon, Dara, Wendy Brigode and Sobella.
The store has light purple walls and a resort feel, and also includes a small selection of candles, perfume and other accessories, including scarves and handbags, many of which are made by local designers. Prices range from about $30 to $800.
“We wanted to create a boutique that is colorful and fun,” said Marie Ivanoff, the store’s manager. “It’s been a great time for jewelry and people are looking for something playful.”
Ivanoff said she scours the market for new designers and hopes to use the store as a launchpad for emerging talent.
Store executives declined to give projections for the store.
Calypso was founded by a French woman named Christiane Celle in 1992 and has grown to include 12 locations, including specialty stores for men and children, and units in the Hamptons in New York, in Boston and in West Hollywood.
Calypso Bijoux joins a growing number of accessories specialty stores that have opened in NoLIta in recent months, including Objets du Desir, Constança Basto and Femmegems.