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Luca Luca Creative Director Raul Melgoza is Thinking of Sydney

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Photos by Randy Ceballos for

In an accidentally synergistic and very auspicious move, Luca Luca creative director Raul Melgoza will show his Sydney Opera House inspired Spring 2011 collection tonight at Lincoln Center, the home of the Metropolitan Opera House. Very nice fashion meets the arts coincidence, right? We dropped by the Luca Luca studio last Thursday (day one of Fashion Week) for a chat with the super-friendly and always cool-as-a-cucumber designer.

Melgoza's point of inspiration for this collection sprang from a moment on a cruise from New Zealand to Australia after the fall 2010 show. As his ship neared the Sydney shore, Melgoza was impressed by the "geometric triangular shapes of the Sydney Opera House and also the coloring at sunset of the harbor." To complement the geometric lines, Melgoza added "fluid washed silks that resemble the billowing effects of the sailboats at the harbor", bringing a "juxtaposition of the severe feeling of the domes of the Opera House and then the soft version" of "how the sails move in the water."

Sure enough, Melgoza's mood board boasted a mélange of stunning blue water, windblown sails and the majestic Sydney Opera House. The designer says that he did not have a specific muse for this collection, but he had an idea of a girl who is "very light and fun and kind of carefree" and "very well put together, [in] very easy clothes, a lot of layering, but like these washed silks (as he softly flips through a few silky soft pastel scarves), even if you layer them they’re still light and flowy."

Upon closer look, we notice a photo of Blake Lively (goodness, that girl really is everywhere these days, isn't she?) with straight-out-of-the-surf hair and a skintight white bandage dress from the Vogue June issue. Melgoza assures us he was not inspired by Serena Van Der Woodsen, but the actress specifically in that beachy-themed photo spread.

As of last Thursday, Melgoza and team were still in the midst of model casting, and taking a look at the board, it was like a photo array of Blakes—long, sexily mussed hair and a naturally girlish looks—"not hard, not edgy, just a pretty girl." He was also still working on the concept of the show, but all he could tell us is that they'll work with the lighting to re-create that sunset moment.

Since we were in the studio, we couldn't help but be nosy about Melgoza's work space and daily routine. Apparently, Luca Luca has a pretty efficient set-up as all the creative is done in New York, but much of the production takes place in Milan. So like long distance couples, Melgoza and the Milan office often rely on Skype in the design process, but the designer still emphasizes the need to fly back and forth often to finalize details.

The studio is an open set up, so Melgoza often finds inspiration outside of the office, at bookstores like Rizzoli, libraries or like most of us, at home during the off hours. "The days tend to be a lot more getting the fabrics ordered," he says, "the samples done and then it’s when I get home that the phone’s not ringing, I’m not in a meeting, so that’s really my most creative time. At night until the wee hours of the morning." Fashion designers: just like us.

Toward the end of our visit, we were still so impressed with how calm and relaxed Melgoza was in chatting with us. If we had a show just days away, we'd probably be spazzing out in about a hundred and a half different ways. So we just had to ask him if he had experienced any crazy pre-show Project Runway-esque crisis moments. While prudently admitting that anything could happen between Thursday and today, last season.

"There was a dress that came in [from Milan] and literally we had to hold the show off from starting because the dress was still being sewn here," Melgoza says. The model was tenth in the run-of-show and as the show started, the seamstress pulled up in a cab and someone ran out to grab the dress. Well kudos to Mr. Melgoza and his design team because we were at the show last season and, from frontstage, the whole thing went off without a hitch. We'll be at the Luca Luca show tonight, so stay tuned for the report.
· Liveblogging the Shows: Luca Luca [Racked]
· All Fashion Week Coverage [Racked]
· Luca Luca [Official Site]