Designer of the Month

Mehran Baghaie – Spectacle Eyeworks

Mehran Baghaie in Vancouver Canada weaves tradition, art and history into his frame creations. Ideas and inspiration are inexorably linked with his Persian ancestry, and then beautifully balanced with trends of today’s style and technical directions. Baghaie and his wife Anisa are both opticians, and managed several shops in Vancouver, where they have lived since 1984.

Bret from the stainless steel collection by Mehran Baghaie at Spectacle Eyeworks
Bret from the stainless steel collection by Mehran Baghaie at Spectacle Eyeworks

However, as Baghaie explains, “I wanted to design something of my own, and my first SILMO was in 1999, and there were only a few independents. Now there are many more people gravitating towards micro brands, and people are looking for brands that cater to independent opticians.

Nadia from Pussy Galore by Mehran Baghaie
Nadia from Pussy Galore by Mehran Baghaie

“Materials that are personally fascinating to me include wood – which I started to use in 2004. I’m a real history buff, and I’m very fond of Native Arts, including Homa, a mystic bird from Persia, and a lion from the 17th Century. Also, I love gothic, and vintage cat-eyes have a special place in my heart, and a cat-eye is  an uplift for the face.” Baghaie has a unique collection – Pussy Galore – devoted only to sleek cat-eye shapes in ravishing colours. Another favourite Baghaie material is stainless steel. His latest collection in the German crafted material is distinctly angular, with modern, clean design that brings a chic mystique to each style. Colours are contrasted with multi-layering, which results in rich intonations. Baghaie has added a special touch with a message included inside one temple. One phrase is ‘Oneness of Mankind’, and Baghaie reveals:”I was always moved by these words, and I wanted to share them by bringing hope of peace on earth.

Soozee in stainless steel by Mehran Baghaie
Soozee in stainless steel by Mehran Baghaie

“I like to create frames that I can relate to in my collections, which means carving beautiful fashion that recycles itself. My influences change by my surroundings and by world events.” Spectacle Eyeworks is sold throughout Europe, America and Canada. For more information on the collection, visit www.spec-eyeworks.com JG

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Mazzucchelli – Six Generations of Excellence

The charming Italian medieval village of Castiglione Olona is the home location for Mazzucchelli – the internationally acclaimed producers of acetate. Product Development Manager Elena Orsi Mazzucchelli has graciously shared the amazing history of this remarkable brand with Eyestylist.

Could you please give the history of Mazzucchelli? “Born as a tiny factory, established in 1849 for the production of combs and buttons made from animal horn, bone and tortoiseshell, Mazzucchelli is now the worldwide leader in the production and distribution of the plastic material traditionally used for the production of optical frames: Cellulose Acetate. The company, still owned by the Mazzucchelli family, has been operating for the last 165 years through 6 generations. Now, the last two generations are directly involved in the company, always focused on carrying out the traditional of this exceptional example of Italian excellence. Throughout the years, Mazzucchelli 1849 has been active in several industrial fields and is now performing as the parent company of the most important industrial conglomeration worldwide, which supplies semi-finished products for the optical market (acetate sheets and granules, metal components and sunglass lenses). Massucchelli’s products are aimed at markets ranging from spectacles, sunglasses and fashion accessories, to interior decoration and design objects, where quality and aesthetical values are greatly appreciated. The products with technical qualities are valued by safety, sports and automotive industries.”

Mazzucchelli has successfully survived major upheavals including two World Wars, and economic transitions. How has this been realised or accomplished? “Over three centuries entrepreneurial spirit, intuition, vision have enabled Mazzucchelli to take a global view of the countless new challenges of the market, and to converse with the fashion world, which demands a particular sensibility to aesthetical and innovative features.

Mazzucchelli Archives
Mazzucchelli Archives

“Quality, creativity, and innovation have always been Mazzucchelli’s core values and advantages over its competitors. Over the years, Mazzucchelli has always shown a great capacity for innovation and this has enabled the company to face successfully all the major upheavals, including the two World Wars and economic transitions. After the First World War, with great insight, Mazzucchelli decided to produce on an industrial scale the first thermoplastic material, celluloid, and celluloid still remains a vivid product in collective imagination. Another reason for the success of Mazzucchelli was the elaboration of a new product: cellulose acetate, a polymer of plant origin. The research laboratories developed this product which has the same characteristics of celluloid, but it is safer because it is flame-proof. Even when the standards of beauty evolved towards a ‘modern’ concept of design (since the 60’s), Mazzucchelli, thanks to its traditional vocation to be a pioneer, readily caught these new values participating actively in the new trend, and working with major companies such as Kartell and  Campari in the production of articles which had become cult objects. Starting from the 70’s, the eyewear world has been highly influenced by design. Emerging Italian fashion designers, such as Armani, Valentino and Missoni gave a strong acceleration to the evolution of taste and distinguished themselves in the global fashion environment with the concept of Made in Italy. Mazzucchelli did not remain indifferent to such a huge phenomenon and conveyed the new standards to its product.”

What do you think is the most important development or improvement in the eyewear industry in the past fifty years? “Over the past fifty years, the biggest evolution in the eyewear industry has been the metamorphosis of the optical frame into a fashion accessory, a trendy item. Once the prosthesis function was lost, the optical frame became the answer – in the colours and designs to the specific taste of the moment. this was a real revolution, and since fashion entered the world of eyeglasses nothing has ever been the same. Mazzucchelli started to collaborate with leading fashion brands, and created a research center dedicated to the study of trends, and to all the socio-cultural factors capable of influence on the current taste. This research center, the historic ‘Centre O” is still operating and has become the undisputed benchmark in the world of eyewear.”

Creative Colourations: Acetate Block by Mazzucchelli
Creative Colourations: Acetate Block by Mazzucchelli

Mazzucchelli creates thousands of different colours every year – what general research methods do you incorporate in this massive project? “Product development has always been guaranteed by the Italian ‘Centre O’ based in Castiglione Olona. This research center works closely with brands, designers and customers from all over the world, offering a wide range of products and design consultancy. Every year this activity creates 40 collections inspired by different stylistic tendencies.The creative source for inspiration comes from fashion trends, design trends, from the suggestions collected travelling, from visits to fairs, art exhibitions, as well as from the stimulating conversations with customers, designers or artists. Besides the collections, Mazzucchelli annually develops about 6,000 new colours, unique products specifically manufactured for individual customers, developed to satisfy the need for customization, nowadays increasingly demanded by the market.”

What three colours are enduring favourites with designers? “The colour selection for optical frames includes: a tortoiseshell that, according to the prevailing fashion of the moment, could be a bleeding or a streaky tortoiseshell, or a spotted one. Black as a basic colour, and a unique colour and pattern combination which personalizes the selection.”

1849 Mazzucchelli - Italian Excellence
1849 Mazzucchelli – Italian Excellence

What are Mazzucchelli’s insights or perceptions for the future of eyewear? “Trends remain the guiding principles over the years, but as we have seen, a new requirement has become more assertive, that of personalization. We also feel that the quality and attention paid to detail will gain more significance each day, along with the need to accompany each product with its history, in order to convey its value and its DNA to the market. Eyeglasses will be more and more an object of cult used to reinforce the concept of brand identity. They will also become a new post-modern communicational tool, used to express one’s personality and to feel at ease in specific contexts.”

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Hall of Frames Zurich Convention Center 12-13 September 2021

 

Drawing of Castiglione Olona 1954 by Fourth Generation Franco Mazzucchelli
Drawing of Castiglione Olona 1954 by Fourth Generation Franco Mazzucchelli

Creating Mazzucchelli acetate requires specialized skills. Nowadays, are young people interested in this unique and challenging career? “Every day we perceive an increasing interest in knowing more about the material used for production, because it’s only by being aware of its origin, of its history and of its components that we can be sure it is suitable to meet specific needs. Mazzucchelli manufacturers a wide range of products from classical to trendy and avant-garde. In particular, it’s the sheet produced following the Block process which represents a great attraction for stylists and designers, because the block, being made up of many and always different elements, can create inimitable effects allowing release of boundless and free creativity. This creativity can find expression thanks to the aesthetic sensibility of the workers in the laboratory, whose specialized skills are the outcome of a school, and a long cultural tradition and craftsmanship handed down from generation to generation. Yes, Mazzucchelli receives many requests from people who would like to take part in this creative process: this induces us to continue our work with great enthusiasm.” www.mazzucchelli.com JG

 

 

 

 

Chris Mascré and Yolande de Clerq

Vue dc, France

Vue dc Founder Chris Mascré is one of the most modest designers we have come across in the eyewear profession but his handmade French designs speak volumes about his love for traditional spectacle making and creative artisan design. Chris and Yolande de Clerq talked to Eyestylist ahead of the Autumn eyewear fashion fairs.

“Since I was a teenager I have been attracted by eyewear as an accessory,” explains Mascré, “that expresses individual personality.” Mascré studied optometry at the famous optical institute ISO in Paris, trained at ESSEL (later Essilor) and opened his first optical boutique in Montparnasse in Paris in 1975. The shop was known for its different approach to eyewear, at a time when independent designers were almost unheard of.

“In the 80s I worked with Paulette Guinet and Alain Mikli, and that was when I began to have my own specific style and identity as a designer.”

It was in 2007, at Silmo, the Paris eyewear fair, that Mascré made his debut as a designer in his own right. “By March 2008 we were exhibiting our acetate retro style designs for the first time in NYC,” says Mascré. We were immediately noticed by the most innovative optical shops of the time. That show was the start of everything.”

Today, Vue dc designs are the work of Chris Mascré with consistent input from Yolande de Clercq (aka Yoma). “Yoma has always been involved in Vue dc – she is behind the choice of materials and colours; her approval in the designs is decisive!”

Götti Switzerland
Vue DC
Vue dc: a flair for natural colours

Asked to explain the stand-out qualities of his collection, made in the Jura, in France, Chris says: “Our selection of acetates with specific thicknesses allows us to explore 3-d volumes. This gives both the Vue dc and Chris M collections their particular identity and style. We are dedicated to uncompromising quality and the very best artisan production. The Vue dc Swarovski collection – for example – is quite apart in its quality and aesthetics, and is typical of our dedication to making things with real skill and precise craftsmanship. Over time, we have created several Vue dc timeless designs…Kis, Rok, Tao, Art and Eva.”

Vue dc
Vue dc: made in France

With so many changes in the eyewear industry itself, Chris firmly upholds his dedication to tradition and authentic handmade frames.

“We have chosen the creative route in eyewear, which means we are all about traditional quality. In the years ahead, we plan to continue to enhance our French “savoir-faire”; it is fabulous to be working with people who express the same creative spirit. I would say that our love for producing frames with a real passion and dedication to the product as an art form or design object continues to be the main driving force for both our labels.”

Vue dc
Vue dc: creative 3-d acetate designs

Vue dc will present five new designs in the eyewear fairs ahead including Silmo in September, and shows in Las Vegas and and New York (Capsule). The new Chris M sunglasses collection will also be launched with five Chris M optical designs. Find more information at www.vuedc.fr CN

Alexia Parmigiani

London Designer Alexia Parmigiani creates luxurious, original scarves that are sold internationally. She discusses with Eyestylist her concepts and intuitions. 

How did you decide to create luxury scarves? “I began my journey with scarves in 2005 after a close friend – Indian Summer based in London – suggested I concentrate only on scarves as my designs were selling so well in her shop. At that point, no one had just a scarf collection. It was a very fresh idea and I loved the ‘one size only.’ My brand is about texture and unique pieces. Basically the scarf is a piece of jewellery. I see scarves as part of the personality.”

Skylar by Alexia Parmigiani
Skylar by Alexia Parmigiani

Are there other products that you would like to design? “I have designed other acccessories and clothing in the past, and each summer collection supports the scarf range with a mini resort wear line. I have just opened a page on my website called “Wanderlust” that will display my one-off designs. I call them ‘One & Only.’ This is a very exciting part of the business for me.”

OGI Eyewear
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For Her...and Him... Alexia launches a Men's Collection
For Her…and Him… Alexia launches a Men’s Collection

Do you have particular inspirations for your creations? “Yes, I try to pick a theme, like Venice for my AW15 collection, which I visited with my husband, and fell in love with the absolutely magical and fascinating city that is Venice – it is breathtaking. I was completely inspired by the colours of the buildings, washes of dark and light blended together, a naturally distressed effect…I researched by taking millions of pictures and just taking in the Venetian life. My shapes are extremely important to my designing, and I usually pick a design that I love from my past collections and redevelop. I see where I can push the design further, and during that stage a completely new design can appear too. Mixing all of this with daily life is how I like to design. For years I have thought about a collection for men, and after my husband was stealing my samples that were not complete I thought: ‘this is a sign’ – I’m ready! So I have introduced a menswear collection for AW 15 – a capsule collection of soft cashmere and wool blends, snake tie dye, and dip dyed in different weaves, with shapes that include square and long scarves. Watch out for the menswear capsule collection launching 1st July – exclusively on line.

Winter Elegance by Alexia Parmigiani for Alexia Fashion
Winter Elegance by Alexia Parmigiani for Alexia Fashion

“I have very exciting news and Eyestylist is the first to hear it. I have decided to concentrate on sales through my website only. Not designing collections, but ‘One & Onlys’ – you can find the beginnings on my Wanderlust page. Fashion has changed, and always will, but now stores are driven by high profile brands more and more. I do believe we all would like a wider choice of well-sourced, new and wonderful designs of any level. I am excited about the freedom that I will have in my designs, and really look forward to this new chapter in my life. Through my website I can release these pieces exclusively for the consumer. This gives me the freedom to create a ‘one of a kind’ place for all shoppers, something new and fresh is what I think people are looking for. This will be an ever changing shop window throughout the year. The Dancers at Dusk AW15 collection will go live by mid-July, and will be sold only though my website store. I hope you will follow me on my new and exciting journey! www.alexiafashion.co.uk JG

Paola Costantini – Pollipo’ Occhiali – Rome

“I started working in the optical/ophthalmic field in 1993, and then also started to work in fashion. Passionate about accessories since  childhood, the spark snapped during a trip to Caracas, after my studies, when I was hit by a pair of sunglasses worn by a young tourist. A glance is able to lead us into new worlds and fantasies just watching what is around us, and through the glance we experience and learn. Glances are the protagonists of memories, sensations, emotions, and make eyewear the King of accessories.

No. 506 double layer blue acetate with leather case in Energy Green Crocodile Pattern by Pollipo'
No. 506 double layer blue acetate with leather case in Energy Green Crocodile Pattern by Pollipo’

“As a self-taught designer, I decided to form my own eyewear label “Pollipo’ Occhiali” in 2000, inspired by my passion for acetate glasses. Acetate is just my favourite material for eyewear. My love for accessories – and pearls in particular – led me to create my collection of jewels, and the unique, creative line of jewel clutches…which are not only for glasses. The collections are fully handmade in Italy, and I’m always focusing on the combination between colours of the acetates, with the colours of the gemstones and leathers. The leathers are from Tuscany, and I choose the gemstones during my world travels, discovering special gems such as the Rhodochrosite from Argentina, a beautiful pink to red-rose stone. I’m also passionate about Red Coral which I select from Torre del Greco in Italy.

N. 594 in Umbria Green acetate with Saffiano clutch in natural Tuscan leather bu Pollipo'
N. 594 in Umbria Green acetate with Saffiano clutch in natural Tuscan leather bu Pollipo’

“Another stone I use is the enchanting Pietra Paesina from Tuscany, a stone that hides inside designs that look like the work of a painter, but really are absolutely natural and stimulating. So sometimes there is a surprising landscape. Turquoise from Arizona I use, but always and above all I am fascinated by selecting and researching pearls!

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Handmade chain in rhodium-plated 925 sterling silver, natural pearls and black spinel. Tilda clutch in Tuscan leather with natural pearls and rhodium-lated sterling silver.
Handmade chain in rhodium-plated 925 sterling silver, natural pearls and black spinel. Tilda clutch in Tuscan leather with natural pearls and rhodium-plated sterling silver.

“I get intuition to create eyewear and jewels by the sea, basically it is my homeland of inspiration. I live in this atmosphere, and the sea is around me everyday, as my home is located in the seaside of beautiful Roma. ” www.pollipocchiali.it JG

Pollipo studio
Tools of the Trade in Pollipo’ Studio