Vinka Lucas (1932-2020) grew up in Yugoslavia, (now Croatia) attending the Academy of Dress Design in Zagreb. After immigrating to New Zealand in 1951, she established a business, first in Hamilton, then by the end of the 1960s in Auckland, specializing in evening and bridal dress using elaborate fabrics imported from Europe as well as local fabrics. Vinka’s husband David Lucas, operated the textile side of their business. Vinka sold her designs, which are characterised by exquisite fabrics and trims, under a number of labels including Maree de Maru, After Five and Vinka Lucas labels.
Vinka Lucas’ selection of ornate, colourful fabrics set her apart from many of her competitors and made her a favourite with Eden Hore.
Similary to Kevin Berkahn, Vinka Lucas was frequently commissioned by the organisers of the Miss New Zealand pageant to design garments, including the winner’s national costume.
By the end of the 1970s, the Lucas’ focused their business on the Middle Eastern market. In 1980, the couple opened Vinka Lucas Designer Collections Salon, in partnership with Suzan Trading and Contracting in Jeddah.