Lucky Brand Gets Lucky
By Marin Preske
Gene Montesano (LEFT) and Barry Perlman
Ask Gene Montesano and Barry Perlman, the easygoing founders of Lucky Brand, about the birth of their company, and you’ll discover a narrative spanning almost 20 years. In short, a low-key jeans line blossoms into an international fashion brand with a global network of stores (around 200 in the US alone) and a charitable foundation that’s grossed millions. Their original denim collection now includes shoes, accessories and all varieties of clothing for men and women, but the guys have never lost the lighthearted spirit that initially led them to LA. “We’ve been best friends and business partners for the better part of 38 years,” says Montesano. “It’s a collaboration that keeps our egos pretty grounded.”
Since its launch in 1990, the thriving label has stayed true to its aesthetic, one that nods to the ’70s (they share a lifelong passion for all things rock ’n’ roll) and the laid-back California lifestyles they’re now living. “We haven’t chased trends,” says Montesano. “We’ve never abandoned who we are.”
It’s no surprise many of the employees at their downtown LA headquarters have a youthful, relaxed look or that the décor features plenty of vintage music memorabilia. Somewhat less expected are the images of smiling children sprinkled amongst the posters of Hendrix and The Who. “We see it as a way we can make a difference now,” says Perlman, referring to their Lucky Brand Foundation, which raises funds for charities that work with disabled youth.
But one has to wonder how such a fortuitous name was born. As the story goes, Montesano was eating at a Chinese restaurant while the partners were brainstorming what to call the company. When he looked at the packet of Lucky Soy Sauce in his hand, something clicked. It’s been an auspicious moniker ever since.
LAC celebrates the women of its May/June 2013 issue at Palihouse in West Hollywood.