The love story behind Liu Jo
LIVIN' & LOVIN' - Tetta Matera () - April 11, 2012 - 12:00am

To give the Italian brand Liu Jo “extraordinary visibility,” enterprising Marchi brothers Marco and Vanni tapped Marco’s “personal favorite” Kate Moss to appear in their spring/summer 2012 advertising campaign. The undisputed iconic supermodel Kate Moss, photographed by her friend and famed Italian fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti, captures “the natural womanliness and beauty of the Liu Jo woman. She displays an irresistible charm and timeless fashion appeal to women of all ages that is at the center of Liu Jo’s vision for the label,” explains Marco. “We are really proud to have her as our muse; she is as mesmerizing as ever,” he adds.

Several Italian fashion brands have thrown in the towel, surrendered their independence and sold their labels to behemoth French companies in the hopes of reviving — if not improving — their brand image and bottom line. But there are those that have resisted the trend and remained steadfast in preserving their 100-percent Italian-ness with great success. One of them is Liu Jo.  

Created by the Marchi brothers in the knitwear district of Carpi, Italy, in 1995, Liu Jo has become an Italian fashion powerhouse since its inception with unique and diverse lines of women’s clothes, shoes and accessories, menswear, jeans, beachwear, underwear, junior and baby wear sold in more than 200 mono-brand stores and 4,500 multi-brand stores in 35 countries across three continents (Europe, Africa and Asia). And they are revving up for a banner 2012.

Fashion DNA: The good-looking and elegantly fashionable Marco Marchi, one of two brothers who created the Liu Jo brand

On a recent visit to Manila, Liu Jo cofounder and head of style Marco Marchi was bullish about their plans to branch out in the Philippines. Buoyed by the success of their flagship store in Ayala Center-Cebu, which in his words has “exceeded sales expectations,” Marchi is all pumped for the opening of the Liu Jo Accessories boutique at The Podium this month, one of several store launches planned for 2012. Noting that there are very few Italian brands available in the local market and none in the ready-to-wear bracket, Marchi is confident that Liu Jo can fill this fashion void.   

A Dynamic, Refined And Modern Italian Brand

Liu Jo appeals to the tastes and needs of a broad spectrum of consumers — the main label Liu Jo is an upscale and glamorous ready-to-wear clothing line for women with a particular emphasis on details. The line takes inspiration from East to West in unexpected combinations of fabric, cut, color and style. From the slim and flirty silhouette of a sheer one-piece nude-colored dress paired with an asymmetrical light knit cardigan to the deconstructed jewel-toned top matched with tailored, form-fitting pants and the spiffy short camel-brown trench coat with a girly, frilled black top and ankle-length leg-hugging pants, the Liu Jo look is fashion-forward, glammed-up or dressed-down. The attractive and versatile pieces primed for fashion mash-ups embody the spirit of the Liu Jo woman: modern, spontaneous, feminine, sexy and comfortable in her own skin.

Liu Jo Jeans is an original, sassy and vibrant “street glam style” collection of denims. The jeans are washed differently for an eco-friendly finish and are designed for the independent woman whose bold personality matches her daring fashion choices. Vivid patterns, graphics, colors and volumes tempered by feminine details and applications characterize the playful mix and match of materials in every Liu Jo denim piece. The Bottom-Up skinny tight jeans are a denim must-have with the bottom zipper adding a fashion zing to the tight-fitting sexy jeans. If indigo blue isn’t your color, check out the soft denim-fabric jeans in earth tones like ash brown; fold up the bottom and you’ve got instant urban chic.

Liu Jo Accessories is a collection of small leather items, precious bijoux, dainty accessories, slim belts, corsets as well as scarves, hats, gloves, foulards and capes made from fine silk and soft “eco” fur, all perfect, natural complements to their clothing lines. The belts are sleek, the multi-textured bracelets are funky and the bijoux, casual couture pieces. The trend-defying accessories cater to the lifestyles and personalities of women on the go who are always looking for that extra oomph to add to their wardrobe.

Moda Italia: The newly redesigned Liu Jo boutique in Milan by Italian architect Fabio Caselli

Liu Jo Shoes mirrors femininity and seduction in shapes and heights, themes and patterns that each season brings. The jewel applications, metal inserts, leather accents cleverly used in combination with standard and new material define the modern and sophisticated take on popular shoe designs. Whether ultra-flat, wedge plateau (my personal favorite), strappy high heels or pointy stilettos, the Made in Italy shoes are flattering and comfy to the feet.

I like the fact that Liu Jo positions itself quite brilliantly in terms of price, style and quality. Creative control of the design process is in the hands of youthful Italians and products are manufactured in countries where expertise takes precedence over cost. While China accounts for some of the production, most of Liu Jo’s products are made in Europe, a fact that automatically puts a premium on the brand.  “We aim to improve our product style and quality on a daily basis; we are committed to creating integrated marketing projects and improving our distribution network to get our products on the shelves in perfect time for the benefit of our clients. Our goal is to keep growing,” Marco proudly shares about the privately held company’s very high standards. Apart from the Philippines, multiple stores are coming up in China and other parts of Asia this year with new interiors and designs by Italian architect Fabio Caselli, including one in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, in August 2012.

“Why the name Liu Jo?” The name didn’t sound anything Italian. Marchi flashes a wistful smile and explains that “Liu is the nickname I gave my first love Luisa, whom I met many, many summers ago when I was 16 in my hometown and I was Jo. Funny how we never saw each other again after that summer, but the memories lingered. Today, the name stands for my desire to convey a natural taste for beautiful things and it has brought me tremendous luck.” 

In a plethora of fashion extremes with fast fashion and cheap runway knockoffs on one end and incredibly pricey name brands on the other, Liu Jo offers a practical middle ground — a fashion prerogative that scores high in terms of style and quality and is affordable in price, with distinct Italian flair thrown in for good measure.

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The Liu Jo Accessories boutique is now open on the second floor of The Podium in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

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