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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 03 March 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 3 MARCH 2018 17 FEATURE In 1954, Elly and her husband set up the Elly Lukas School of Elegance in Collins Street, Melbourne. Her natural ability to communicate with people of all ages enabled her to promote the importance of confidence, poise, and manners to hundreds of women who walked through the doors of her institution. Olivia Newton-John was among the personalities known to have enrolled in the school that served generations of women, who were taught that the key to true beauty comes down to one significant quality: confidence. "The Ithacan community admired Elly's confident poise and elegance, which was projected effortlessly and without pretentiousness. It was this innate natural ability, instilled in her by her humble family beginnings, that was never forgotten, despite the heights she reached in her profession and the people with whom she interacted in the echelons of Melbourne's high society, the world of fashion and the charitable causes she supported, often with the patronage of Melbourne's elite," says Raftopoulos. "Elly was an inspiration to women of all ages. She had the ability to make a person feel special by instilling confidence in them and through generously sharing her knowledge and expertise," says Kay Raftopoulos who attended the college and practiced deportment and etiquette, as did many daughters of Ithacan Greek Australian families. Elly's son Alex is now the director of an accredited beauty college that offers beauty therapy, massage, make-up, and spa therapy courses. Elly Lukas was not only a model, a daughter, a wife, a mother, and a successful businesswoman; she also worked tirelessly to improve the life of her community, through charitable work in various sectors. She was a life governor of the Deaf & Dumb Society, and supported the Spastic Children's Society, St Paul's School for the Blind, the Royal Women's Hospital, and the Royal Children's Hospital. She was also actively involved as a member of Melbourne's Lady Mayoress' Committee, the Women of Note Committee, and Quota International. The Raftopoulos’ say during her five decades of work, Lukas raised the standard of the name 'Greek' to a higher level, rightfully earning her place in the world of Australian and International fashion, as well as a glorious page in the book of our diaspora history. Lukas was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 45, and lived with the disease for over 30 years, undergoing radical surgery and radiotherapy. She passed away at St Vincent's Private Hospital on 4 July 1999, aged 74, surrounded by her loving family. Thanks to Andrew and Kay Raftopoulos, the Ithacan Historical Society (Inc), the Ithacan Philanthropic Society 'The Ulysses', and Rosa McCall (Elly Lukas 1924–1999) for their overall input, photographic material, and historical data contribution to this story.
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10 March 2018