With great personal flair and style, plus fashion forward vision – meet David Duralde. Eyestylist speaks with the Chief Creative Officer at Kenmark Optical.
Please tell us about your professional career. “Raised in Southern California, an Orange County boy, I embraced the spirit of optimism, adventure and innovation that is key to the sunshine state. California has a tradition of creating trends that question convention – setting fashion on its ear with things like surf wear, sports and workout clothes to the boardroom, jeans at a formal dinner – nothing was sacred or precious in LA. From a town that lets a person make his own history, this was a fertile brewing ground for my creative start. Then moving to Los Angeles to study at UCLA, I was immersed in the looking good culture. So it was this strange mix living in a place and time when young ideas bucking the establishment were the norm, and people wanting to completely transform themselves through fashion, design and fitness – this became a major driver that convinced me I could make people look and feel better, and pay the rent. As I was fortunate enough to work under Barbara McReynolds and Gai Gherardi from l.a.Eyeworks, I got an early taste of the importance of design reaching out to many disciplines in culture – fashion, architecture, music, photography, food, literature and fine art. In other words, I developed a huge desire to make the world more beautiful by expressing myself through design.”
What sparked your passion in eyewear? “From the minute I started as a product manager, developing eyewear under the tutelage of great spirited eyewear designers, I knew this was for me. It was incredible that I could be part of a team that opens people’s eyes to their own radiance and beauty. I learned so much about the craft and technology of making eyewear. It was incredible to me in the early 90’s that you could take machinery and techniques from other industries, and experiment with them for the first time in our industry. Most importantly I became so passionate about eyewear because it seemed you could do so many things from a design perspective to make eyewer unique, yet everyone thought it was just two circles, or rectangles and a bridge with temples.”
Why and what do you think is the most original, spirited time period in fashion, that influences today’s eyewear industry? “I believe eyewear has the freedom to include many points of inspiration from many time periods. It’s a multitude of influences and influencers. The 70’s and 80’s glam story is timeless and elevating, while the chunky, funky 50’s nerd theme always makes people feel smart and edgy. I particularly like the attention to detail from the 30’s and 40’s that infuses an old English wallflower sexiness to the product.”
Please name three women and three men whom you think have profoundly influenced fashion? “Diana Vreeland; Miuccia Prada; Anna Wintour; Halston; Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein.”
Nowadays, what and whom do you feel are the most important motivators in fashion? “Looking good and creating a unique persona that communicates who you are is the key motivator to embrace fashion.”
Where are your favourite travel destinations – and why? “Paris – love the 24-hour energy and the fairy tale feeling every time you walk up and down the historical streets. Of course, exquisite chocolate at every corner doesn’t hurt either. Milan – I love the juxtaposition of industrial grit and sheer fashion polish in the DNA of this city. The delicious food is accessible to everyone at every price point, fresh, modern and straightforward. People work to live in this city, rather than live to work like most U.S. cities. Italian culture is a clear reminder that living life to the fullest every single day is the best mantra.” www.kenmarkoptical.com JG