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Karl Lagerfeld, Lapo Elkann to Collaborate on Eyewear

The two men are to create a capsule collection of sunglasses and optical frames, WWD has learned.

PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld, who frequently sports sunglasses with velvety frames by Italia Independent, is now really seeing eye-to-eye with Italia founder Lapo Elkann.

This story first appeared in the July 24, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The two men are to collaborate on a capsule collection of sunglasses and optical frames, WWD has learned.

Marchon, Lagerfeld’s eyewear licensee since 2008, and Italia Independent Group are to unveil today a two-year agreement that starts in October.

The capsule collection for men and women is to reflect the combined aesthetic of the two designers. It consists of three sunglasses and three optical frames, including two styles deemed unisex.

Ever ready with a bon mot, Lagerfeld said of the collaboration: “I love velvet gloves on iron hands and velvet sunglasses on steel eyes.”

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Eyewear is a key category for Elkann, whose brand offers 200,000 customized variations of five models. He launched glasses with a velvetlike finish in 2009.

Last month, Elkann’s group went public on the AIM Italia Alternative Capital Market, a segment of the Italian Stock Exchange for small and medium-size companies.

Sporting dark glasses rain or shine, indoors or out, day or night, Lagerfeld sells an above-average ratio of sunglasses versus optical frames with his signature eyewear, produced under license by Marchon Eyewear Inc.: 52 percent, versus a norm for designer frames of around 45 percent.