( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Effortless Modern Elegance with Cultural Authenticity
ENSPIRE Contributor: LaShonda Thompson
MoAnA LUU, a Martinican entrepreneur, global creative leader, brand architect, media expert, and philanthropist launches MANLUU, an American fashion house showcasing luxurious interpretations of creole culture. The debut collection from the House of Manluu emphasizes the evolution of Creole jewelry and honors the rich, diverse cultural tapestry of the French West Indies.
“My Creole roots are my “difference,” my pride and my power, and what shapes my understanding of the world. Being Caribbean, French, Indian, and African is part of what makes me unique and open-minded to other cultures. I wanted to start ManLuu with a symbol of this pride, to create a collection of precious objects that would be timeless heirlooms passed from one generation to the next. Jewelry was the natural answer” says MoAnA LUU / CEO and Creative Director.
MoAnA’s passion for Creole jewelry has been shaped by generations of heritage and expertise; some of her earliest memories took place at her grandparents’ jewelry store in Fort-de-France, Martinique. After years spent developing her signature designs across disciplines, this remarkable creator is bringing her groundbreaking vision of contemporary Creole luxury to the world. MANLUU by MoAnA Luu evokes effortless modern elegance crafted with cultural authenticity. The signature themes of refined gold woven rattan, oversized beads and embossed octagonal barrels come together in 3 distinctive lines: “The Cane”, “The Beads” and “The ML Collection”. Each precious statement piece is handcrafted by local artisans in the New York City-based ManLuu Atelier in 18k gold vermeil and sterling silver.
As a Black business owner and leader, MoAnA invites the world on a journey to discover cherished objets d’art, handed down through generations and re-imagined with humility, pride, and joie de vivre. The ManLuu fine jewelry collection is produced by local artisans in the New York City-based ManLuu Atelier. Created exclusively of recycled 18k gold and lab-grown diamond, 18k gold vermeil, and sterling silver, each piece is handcrafted and finished with meticulous attention to detail. By leveraging local talents and expertise, the House of ManLuu is able to minimize its carbon footprint and assure ethical sourcing as well as the highest standards of quality.
The Creole origin story includes indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, African freedom fighters, Maroons, Indians and Europeans. From this melting pot came Creole culture, along with the ingenuity, imagination, and savoir faire of its craftsmen. The Creole jewelry tradition dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. As Black people could not own property, families instead invested in jewelry, celebrating rites of passage such as births, baptisms, weddings, and anniversaries with offerings of golden heirlooms that were passed down from generation to generation. In Martinique, gold is more than fashion – it is a statement of strength, courage and rootedness. From a very young age, children are bestowed delicate gold jewelry, while older women flaunt striking Creole hoops. Every piece has a story to tell, and represents each family’s legacy, eternal love, and commitment to one another.
About The Collection
The Cane Collection
Architectural modernism with natural rattan lines
The Cane line offers intricately crafted pieces that take notes from MoAnA’s work in interior design and Creole modernist architecture. Bracelets, earrings, hoops and rings feature a signature octagonal webbing inspired from tropical furniture and are woven with brilliant threads echoing the natural lines of rattan.
The Beads Collection
Effortless elegance and Creole nostalgia
Inspired by memories of MoAnA’s grandmother proudly donning her magnificent “collier grain d’or,” these bold heirloom pieces are rare symbols of pride and resilience. Each luxurious necklace and bracelet are finished with an embossed ML octagonal barrel, which serves as the necklace clasp and is made to be worn front facing.
The ML Collection
A twist on timeless pieces
The ManLuu ML collection offers a minimalist twist on both golden beads and octagonal forms. Each creation features bold monograms and sleek, polished curves.
About MoAnA LUU
Moana Luu is a Martinican entrepreneur, global creative leader, brand architect, media expert and philanthropist based in New York. She is the founder and creative director of ManLuu, an American fashion house that reimagines contemporary Creole luxury. LUU is the Global Chief Content and Creative Officer for ESSENCE Ventures, which brands include ESSENCE, Afropunk, Naturally curly, and Girls United. A creative powerhouse, MoAnA is known for transforming iconic brands such as ESSENCE magazine, ESSENCE Festival of Culture, Trace Media Group, and Activilong Paris Cosmetics. In her work in media, MoAnA has created and launched TV channels, television programs, web applications, websites and magazines used and viewed by millions. Trusted to lead the way, she directed ESSENCE magazine through its landmark 50th anniversary. LUU is the architect behind the publication’s most successful and inclusive covers, which have garnered more than a combined 5 billion media impressions. She pioneered the inclusion of the first openly gay male star, Billy Porter, as well as the first hijabi model, Halima Aden on the cover of the legacy publication. Her skills and talents have allowed her the opportunity to work with iconic talents such as Michelle Obama, Naomi Campbell, Alicia Keys, Serena Williams, Sean “Puffy” Combs and more.
LUU’s signature approach to creation and design has propelled her through a multi-faceted and accomplished career spanning New York, Paris, London, Johannesburg, Manilla, and Martinique. She is known for bringing a sense of integrity and authenticity to the brands and projects on which she works. MoAnA’s newest venture is the House of ManLuu, (Creole for “Madame Luu”). This American fashion house showcases luxurious, unexpected interpretations of Creole culture. This transformative work is a continuation of a cultural journey that began with one of the creators most notable projects, boutique hotel “Apolline Martinique” in Martinique. As its interior designer, MoAnA transformed the Apolline from a ruined historical building into a prestige destination for high-end world travelers. Most importantly, as a philanthropist, she has been deeply involved for over 10 years in improving healthcare for developing countries by leading communications strategy for the global NGO The Heart Fund.
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