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LUCAS (Ravlic), Vinka Dragica

New Zealand

Died 10th of August 2020

Vinka LUCAS Death Notice/Obituary originally published: The New Zealand Herald 

Vinka Dragica Lucas MNZM (née Ravlich) is a Croatian-born New Zealand fashion and bridalwear designer, business owner and co-founder of New Zealand Bride magazine.

Early life

Lucas was born in Croatia, in the village of Kozica near the Adriatic coast. While growing up there, she learned the traditional local skills of needlework and embroidery, and later moved to Zagreb to learn cutting and design at the Academy of Dress & Design.

In 1951, aged 15, Lucas moved to New Zealand to live with her sister in Northland. Despite having limited English, she worked in her sister's general store in the small town of Maungatapere. In 1955 she moved to Auckland and started working in the fabric department of department store Price & Dempster.


In 1959 Lucas and her husband David Lucas bought a fashion and dressmaking business in Hamilton; they renamed it Maree de Maru (meaning "Marriage of the Brides" in Croatian) and turned it into a bridalwear store. In 1962 the couple opened a store in Customs Street, Auckland and in 1966 moved it to the city's busiest street, Queen Street.

Over the next few years Lucas opened four more fashion stores on Queen Street – Modern Bride, which sold a simpler range of bridalwear than Maree de Maru; Buttons Galore, for trimmings and accessories; Stanton Silks, which sold exclusively imported fabrics and Vinka Lucas After 5, for cocktail and evening wear.

In 1963 the couple published a booklet of bridal designs, which later grew into the magazine New Zealand Bride. David Lucas was managing editor and art director, while Vinka Lucas organised shoots and was fashion director.

In the 1980s Lucas branched out into the Middle Eastern market; in partnership with a local shiekh, Sheikh Abbas Filamban, she opened a salon in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and another in Kuwait. In the same decade Lucas won two major achievements: showing a collection at the London Fashion Olympics in 1980, and winning the international fashion competition run by the Association of Voralberger Embroiderers of Austria.


In 2009, Lucas suffered a stroke and retired; her daughter Anita Turner-Williams took over and continued running the business, under the names Vinka Design and Vinka Brides.

In 2017, a Vinka Lucas-designed dress was discovered in a bag of clothes donated to a hospice charity shop in Auckland, New Zealand. The shop gave the dress to the Auckland Museum, which placed it on display.  A number of Lucas' sewing patterns are in the collection of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.


In the 2019 New Year Honours, Lucas was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to the fashion industry and design.

Vinka Lucas Death Notice Source.

Vinka LUCAS Death Notice: Passed away 10/08/2020

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All Saints Chapel, Purewa Crematorium
100 St Johns Road, Meadowbank, Auckland

Saturday 15th of August 2020 at 02:00 PM

Obituary originally published: The New Zealand Herald on 12th of August 2020

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