Luk by Luc La Roche - spring/summer 2002

You’re frantically packing your suitcase for a week of carefree bliss on a remote foreign beach, abandoning the land of voicemail and spilling latté. The feeling that you forgot something haunts you halfway over the Atlantic until it hits you - “I forgot my Luk!”

No need to worry. The Luk collection travels as much as you do, if not more. Prolific Montreal designer Luc La Roche has been purveying a unique blend of street-wear and haute couture to North America for over a decade, and for his Luk ready-to-wear men’s label since 1998. The brand is renowned for stylized and streamlined underwear, swimwear and loungewear. We met the designer in his spacious uptown production house.

“My designs have a sensuality tempered with good taste, a sexuality not widely available in the U.S.,” says La Roche.

A well-rounded collection means good news for shoppers. Luk’s trendy and comfortable brushed cotton separates can be worn to suavely impress both on a professional and an after-hours basis. The perfect gift for a special man who likes to mix the two.

Flying his chic objets desirés to the bedrooms and beaches of Europe is next on the horizon for the Montrealer, who’s on the cusp of securing a distribution deal in Florence, Italy. With international sales in select European capitals already in place, La Roche stands as a formidable candidate to carry the Canadian fashion torch overseas. Lise Gagnon of The Bay’s downtown Montreal location notices a distinct clientele for all things Luk.

“The label is definitely popular with European customers who want well-made, exclusive Canadian fashion. It’s literally flying off the racks.”

Luk’s glamorous fashion show at Aria nightclub last September, as part of Montreal Fashion Week, gave us a glimpse of the Spring 2002 offerings. Exquisitely defined swimwear and underwear in vivid sun-drenched solids delineate the athletic body within, with splashes of contrasted colour in all the right places. The loungewear allows for transgressing the day-night / in-out prescripts that we could do without. Of special interest: a powder blue cropped jacket studded with Swarovski crystals for when the city night beckons.

La Roche’s globally informed business approach is to credit for the success he’s attained, as is setting his sights high early in the game.

“The fashion scope is widening. You need to be avant-gardiste to be internationally commercial.”

He is particularly fond of his company structure. “Having a dual production strategy is a way to constantly create situations of creative freedom and mobility.”

And from the looks of it, wearing Luk will likely do the same.

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Bruno Petrozza, Photographer