Flying high with speed and style

This year marks the centennial of a unique and historic event that unified hope, courage and passion – and a strengthened, shared commitment. In 1916, the United States had not yet officially entered World War I. Hence, a group of young American pilots wanted to show their allegiance and unity with the French, in defence of their respected values and spirit – that both countries held dear.

A squadron consisting entirely of American volunteers was organised to lend support to the French Army. The La Fayette squadron debuted in 1916, named after the Marquis de La Fayette, a French hero of the US War of Independence. La Lafayette was a prominent and heroic symbol of friendship between the two countries. The squadron’s insignia was the head of a Sioux Indian Chief, unifying strength and courage. The unit fought in every battle of the war, and notably the battle of Verdun. When the US entered the war, the pilots from the La Fayette Squadron were incorporated into the US Army, and served as the first fighter pilots of America that eventually became the US Air Force. By the end of the war, 267 American pilots had served in the La Fayette Flying Group…and the rest is history!

Collaborative venture: Lafont's frame tribute to the La Fayette Squadron
Collaborative venture: Lafont’s frame tribute to the La Fayette Squadron

Fast forward to 2016, and to mark the occasion, Lafont Paris has created a commemorative Limited Edition sunglass design in collaboration with the French Air Force. Matthieu Lafont, who loves planes, commented what an honour it was to work on this exclusive, joint venture, and a thrill to visit the air base. The rich history of the squadron, along with the devotion and dedication of the pilots were all strong stimulus and inspirations for Lafont in creating these respected frames. To celebrate the milestone, a centennial logo was created based on the initial logo that represented the squadron in WWI, and is prominently used on a Mirage 200N, the aircraft currently used by the La Fayette Squadron.

Socrate La Fayette by Lafont Paris, handcrafted in France
Socrate La Fayette by Lafont Paris, handcrafted in France

In the design process, the Lafont Studio took into consideration the special needs of the pilots who sought an ergonomic sunglass suitable for daily use. The result recognises and pays tribute to the squadron’s insignia and traditions, featuring the Sioux head laser engraved on the lenses. A super sonic winner! Please note: Model Socrate is available in the Lafont collection, but without the collector colours and décor. JG