Lucchese Makes Progress on Fashion Push

NEW YORK — After ramping up its fashion focus for spring ’14, Lucchese is going a step further for next season.

For spring ’15, the brand, in collaboration with designer Frank Zambrelli, is debuting 32 upscale styles, half of which come from the 2014 line.

Booties have been a success for the brand and are featured prominently, in addition to new kitten-heeled pumps and exotic-skin boots. For men, Lucchese is also expanding its Fausto loafer collection, which was its top seller.

The new women’s line is priced from $695 to $5,750, while the men’s collection retails at $625 to $5,750. (Styles will be produced in both Italy and El Paso, Texas.)

As part of the push, the brand is putting the high-end pieces front and center in its retail locations, introducing women’s handbags and partnering with young, trendy brand ambassadors.

“Western boots will always be a part of the brand and our history, but at the same time we’re ready to expand the reach of the brand with the fashion footwear collection as well,” said William Zeitz, EVP of marketing and creative director. “Customers were asking us for more than boots [to suit their lifestyles].”

Over the past year, the brand created an e-commerce site, introduced its first glossy-print advertising campaign and launched the fashion collection at retailers such as Net-a-porter.com, Gregory’s and Fred Segal Feet in Los Angeles, Stanley Korshak in Dallas and Kemo Sabe in Colorado.

Though specialty boutiques have provided an opportunity for the brand to get in front of new clients, the company is also extensively renovating its own retail stores and planning new ones for the near future. Lucchese recently redesigned its San Antonio unit for a more sophisticated, contemporary shopping experience, and will open its first Houston location in November this year.

The brand’s own retail spots will be significant for the launch of the new handbag collection this fall. Taking a cue from the label’s equestrian roots and exotic-skin expertise of the brand, Lucchese launched women’s handbags in late August in its own stores. The tight collection of fashion clutches, saddle-inspired cross-body bags and an alligator-skin shoulder bag run the gamut from $650 to $2,250 and are handmade in Italy.

“It’s a crucial part of the fashion story. The handbags are a key revenue opportunity for the brand but also allows us to communicate more about the brand’s attributes and styling and bringing in details with hardware and exotic skins,” Zeitz said.

The firm has also been able to connect with new consumers by teaming up with key influencers.

For the spring launch, the brand partnered with Pink Peonies blogger Rachel Parcell and most recently tapped Dallas-based Jane Aldridge of Sea of Shoes. Zeitz said this effort has been effective. “The boot [Rachel] picked and featured on the blog had a direct impact on sales. With Sea of Shoes, we’re seeing the same thing. The shoes Jane selected drives business to the website,” Zeitz said.

For Aldridge, it’s been a beneficial partnership. “When Lucchese came to me, I was so excited to work with them because they are from Texas, and I love to celebrate my heritage and don’t always get to work with homegrown brands on my own turf,” she said.

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