This post is part of the Hungary Month Series.
Lucia S. Hegyi is a prominent figure both in the Hungarian fashion scene and abroad as well. Here in Hungary she is called a "tailor of souls", someone who not only helps her clients in selecting an appropriate dress, but during a day-long consultation she creates their very own style, which includes new hairstyle, makeup, accessories and a complete makeover of their wardrobe. It doesn't end here though: she is willing to give additional guidance ("style updates") every time fashion trends change or when a client feels the need to reinvent her- or himself.
For a while after her school leaving exam she intended to go on to university and become an electric engineer but she soon realized that she wanted to become a fashion designer. For a while she worked in a Hungarian clothes factory where she learned English and French women's tailoring and leather-work. In 1991, she founded her own brand Luan by Lucia. Unlike Tamás Náray, who follows the French line, she finds the English way of making clothes much closer to her heart because of its excellent craftsmanship and complexity.
Before founding her own brand she used to work with a fellow designer but like so many other designers she finds it hard to work and create together with a another person. Besides Luan by Lucia, which is the name of her quality haute couture collection, she has two other lines of her own: Wan by Lucia offers quality prét-a-porter clothes at more affordable prices with the intention of improving the average Hungarian woman's sense of style and way of clothing. The brand name Pelle by Lucia is reserved for her leather and fur collection.
Her customers are usually people who live their lives in the limelight, such as models, politicians, businesspeople, socialites, television newscasters and actors. Unlike abroad, however, people in Hungary don't often like to tell the whole world about who is responsible for their seemingly impeccable sense of style which is why it's impossible to find out who actually enlist her company's services. There could be quite a lot of them because even though her clothes are not easy to afford many people turn to her for a personal consulting when trying to create their own style, or so she claims.
She's not very happy with the fashion scene in Hungary, mostly because according to her there's isn't one worth mentioning. Since Hungary is not a particularly rich country, people usually cannot afford to wear the works of local fashion designers, and those who can tend to spend their money in Milan or Paris. It is also unfortunate that the average Hungarian person's sense of style is not very refined for lack of a better term. I say this is no wonder, as most Hungarians are busy trying to make a living and trying to survive which does not leave them much time to educate themselves in arts, literature, music and fashion. Exceptions are today's teenagers and those in their twenties: according to Lucia Hegyi they do try to follow the latest trends and even though most of them cannot afford designer clothes they have a good sense of fashion and know how create their own style using clothes from Mango or Zara.
When asked to name a few of her favorite foreign designers Lucia Hegyi mentioned Gianfranco Ferré, Claude Montana, Thierry Mugler, Armani and Galliano.
Her clothes do follow trends when it comes to colors and materials, but she tends to stick to her own preferences in shapes and cutting. She has her own style which defines her, especially when it comes to the waist, shoulders and other small details of her creations, as she uses these to enhance or hide her clients' advantageous or less than becoming features.
Her favorite material is silk, but to my great disappointment she also likes to work with leather and fur. (Shame on her.) She likes to add many handmade elements to her clothes too.
Her mottos are: harmony, balance, self-realization, patience, humility.
A while ago she decided to support blooming fashion designers and students by granting them access to her workshop and tutoring them personally in order to pass on her twenty years of invaluable experience and knowledge. Some of these privileged students finally decide not to pursue a career in fashion but Lucia Hegyi says that she does not consider this a failure by any means. At least she can spare them the frustration and anxiety of a bad career choice and they can avoid spending years with something that would ultimately prove to be a mistake. On the other hand, most of her trainees end up being successful themselves with their own style and own artistic visions, which Lucia considers a great boon for the Hungarian fashion scene.
When I saw her in a television interview about half a year ago, I was very impressed with this woman. I've always tried to avoid seeing the world and the people in it in only back and white and so the fact that I wholeheartedly disapprove of her use of fur and leather in her collections does not stop me from considering her a sort of role model who's worth following. I don't mean this in the literary sense of me trying to become a fashion designer, of course, as that would be ridiculous. Instead, I can safely say that I admire her strength with which she dares to follow her own heart and also the calm collectedness which radiated from her all through the interview. She isn't one to be messed with and she doesn't try to conform to the norms and nod in agreement every time people tell her something.
Her choice of models does leave some things to be required in my opinion (Well, I tried to select some of the better looking ones here, but still...), but I truly love her clothes, especially the Fresco Collection and her heavy use of silk and earthy tones in her creations.
What do you think? :-)
View some of her collections here:
Luan by Lucia at the Wella Fashion Show in the spring of 2007
Pictures of the Fresco Collection
Legends of the North Collection
Nature's Gift Collection
The Hungary Month Posts include:
Hungarian Fashion Designers 1 - Tamás Náray
March - Hungary Month on Binary Star