A native Californian, Raul Melgoza shook out memories of childhood trips to Yosemite to come up with this season's wardrobe for his tony clientele. "I thought about where I go to relax," the designer said backstage before his show. "And I thought about a woman traveling through the woods. What would she wear?" Well, in Luca Luca
's woods, heels are perfectly practical, and leather is a must. A nod to functionality came through in a pair of streamlined pants, a cross between jodhpurs and cigarettes, worn with a leather utility belt—"like a detachable cummerbund," Melgoza explained. Generally, the woodsy references were confined to print and embellishment. A pencil skirt was treated to look like bark, and the fine strands of jet black beading on the bodice of a closing gown resembled a strand of seeds, or the fine veins that run through leaves.
There may not have been many surprises—as usual, Melgoza's eye for architectural seaming and detailing was in evidence—but this season the designer made a point of using color, employing hues that, while saturated, were never too pop. Those are the types of tones Luca Luca's customers will likely gravitate toward as they follow the call to incorporate more color into their closets. When that time comes, an orange fox chubby worn over a pair of slim wool pants and a cashmere sweater, both in fuchsia and topped with a matching watch cap, would be a very bold place to start.