"NicoBlu, a luxury resort lifestyle brand that was founded by Katherine Lantuch, a former Ralph Lauren and Bergdorf Goodman executive, is making headway.
The brand, which had a soft launch last December, recently established its official website and is expanding its product offerings. The brand launched with a capsule of 15 tunics on pre-order and sold out by March. It currently is offering over 70 apparel styles and multiple classifications, including a new category, kaftans.
In addition to kaftans, the collection features tunics, dresses and jewelry inspired by Lantuch and her team’s travels to Jaipur, Portofino, Andalusia and Marrakech. The line is comprised of stand-alone styles that can be worn from day to night, with each piece having its own story.
“At the height of the pandemic, many of us dreamed of escaping, letting our minds wander to places that we had fallen in love with in the past, places that evoked memories and emotions of happier times, NicoBlu was born from those dreams,” said Lantuch.
She said she came up with the concept during COVID-19, “when everything felt so bleak.” She felt it was time to make people feel happy and make them feel that they could travel somewhere. “It was the right time for escapism when we felt we couldn’t escape physically,” she said.
Prior to launching her company, Lantuch was a global vice president of Ralph Lauren and before that worked as a creative director at Bergdorf Goodman.
Knowing she wanted to have her own fashion brand one day, she said at Lauren she traveled a lot and was intent on learning as much as she could about digital, advertising, store operations and luxury retail. She also worked with Peter Rizzo, former president of Bergdorf Goodman.
NicoBlu’s signature pieces include tailored tunics in 100 percent crisp cotton, boho chic kaftans crafted in viscose, versatile stretch cotton tunic dresses, and breezy, long lightweight tunic dresses for weekend getaways and beach vacations.
The color palette is focused on vibrant and upbeat colors, such as blues, coral oranges and pastels designed to be mixed and matched. Whimsical toiles, bohemian ikats and ogee prints invoke far-flung places, along with handcrafted embellishments of semi-precious stones and gold bullion embroidery.
“It’s Western sensibilities with Eastern opulence,” she said.
The company, which is based in New Canaan, Conn., produces its collection in India. All items are handcrafted in a female-founded factory which donates a percentage of its net profits to various charities working to eradicate hunger, promote education and gender equality, and ensure environmental sustainability in India.
Items in the collection retail from $26 to $325. Sizes range from XS to 4X in both regular and petite sizes.
Lantuch said the NicoBlu label is derived from the Nicobar islands in the Indian Ocean, combined with the word “blu,” which conjures up blue seas and blue skies.
Asked if it was difficult to direct the Indian production from the U.S. during COVID-19, she said, “With today’s technology, it’s amazing what you can actually do. The pandemic was very challenging, but everyone was so pumped up for the concept, it flowed naturally.”
The collection is sold primarily via its own website, NicoBlu.com, along with a few small specialty stores. The company looks to launch additional categories in the spring including shoes, bags and home.