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Google Inks Glass Deal With Luxottica

The Italian-based eyewear firm will help expand the range of Glass silhouettes available for Google’s Explorer Program.

Google is cozying up to the fashion world more and more.

This story first appeared in the March 25, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

On Monday, the technology giant said it will partner with eyewear firm Luxottica as Google readies for the consumer launch of its Glass product later this year.

Financial terms of the new deal were not revealed, and it applies only to the U.S.

The Italian-based designer, manufacturer and distributors of eyewear for brands like Ray-Ban, Persol, Oliver Peoples, Oakley and Vogue-Eyewear — and which also makes eyewear under license for designer brands such as Giorgio Armani, Coach, Prada and Ralph Lauren — will help expand the range of Glass silhouettes available for Google’s Explorer Program. The program, which launched in February 2013, allowed about 10,000 consumers to try out the $1,500 Explorer edition.

While this collaboration isn’t part of Glass’ public launch, Google will be able to take advantage of Luxottica’s vast retail and wholesale channels in the U.S. once the product sees an official rollout. Google has not revealed a time frame for when that might be.

According to Google, it will work with Luxottica on the design of all glass-compatible frames.

“Luxottica will manufacture these frames and lead distribution of Glass in the eyewear category, and Glass will continue to sell the device online through our Explorer Program,” the company said.

Google revealed the first in-house designed frames for Glass in January. Sunglass styles retail for $150 and optical styles are priced a bit higher at $225.

“We’re making it a more natural part of your life. [Wearing Glass] will be easier with this, plus you have more choices,” Google Glass lead designer Isabelle Olsson told WWD at the Google Glass Basecamp in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market earlier this year. “It’s a very natural extension of things that you already wear. For some people, this will come even more naturally than the regular [Glass].”

The deal with Luxottica is Google’s latest move in the area of wearable technology. Last week, the firm unveiled a new version of its Android operating system called Android Wear and said it would partner with Fossil to launch a line of smartwatches using the system later this year.