Leonard Lasry, co-founder of Thierry Lasry, talks to OT about the fundamentals of great eyewear design
10 January 2017
Today we run the business together. Thierry designs all the frames, and we work together to finalise the collections. He lives in New York City, and I am based in Paris. We are a French brand in the artistic sense, but from a commercial and business perspective, we wanted to be considered as an international brand.
There has been a lot of evolution of the brand’s look, but we have always kept in mind the idea of being ‘futuristic.’ We take inspiration from vintage, but add a contemporary and modern approach to manufacture. We use pronounced angles, and always work in acetate from Mazzucchelli. The quality of its acetate is amazing.
Some eyewear designers create objects, not eyewear. You have to marry function and style for customers. There are lots of eyewear companies doing good things, creating frames with a strong identity, but you have to ask ‘Is the product comfortable to wear?’
"You have to marry function and style for customers. There are lots of eyewear companies doing good things, creating frames with a strong identity, but you have to ask 'Is the product comfortable to wear?"
How the frames are made is really important to us. We have worked with the same French factory from 2007 onwards to produce handmade frames. It is a small company, and we have grown together. Sometimes I bring people from the team to the factory to see the processes and the machines involved, and the craftsmanship needed to create the frames.
Good design is very subjective. Thierry and I always knew that we did not want to follow trends. We do what we like, not what other people like. We are inspired by the designers of the 1980s. We also love iconic toys like Lego, which bring a geometric structural dimension to our work.
We are excited by the launch of our own-brand shop, which opened in Paris in May 2016. It is more like a gallery, a destination for customers. It is great to be able to give the brand more visibility, and have a direct link to the consumer. We would like to open more stores.
Lots of people ask to collaborate with us. But we always ask, ‘Why Thierry Lasry?’ There has to be a shared creative vision. We have enjoyed working with like-minded brands including Swedish fashion label Acne Studios, and interior designer, Kelly Wearstler. And when Fendi calls you to set-up a joint venture for a sunglasses capsule collection, you don’t say no. But we do not approach creative partnerships systematically. There needs to be a moment of inspiration.
My favourite Thierry Lasry frame is…‘Wavvy.’ It is a really strong design, but easy to wear.