Ray-Ban keeps digging into the past for its next big hit.
The eyewear firm will take over New York’s Bowery Ballroom on Dec. 9 to relaunch the classic Clubmaster style. Ray-Ban enlisted emerging artists such as Ipso Facto, The Black Kids and White William to perform at the event, each re-creating a tune from the Fifties or Sixties, the era that inspired the frame’s design.
Ray-Ban hopes the Clubmaster will fuel the same retail fire as the Wayfarer when it resurfaced in 2006. Since then, the $1.8 billion brand has achieved consecutive years of double-digit growth and estimates it will have sold 16 million frames this year in over 70,000 doors worldwide.
“Since the acquisition of Ray-Ban in 1999, Luxottica has worked very hard to try to reestablish and reposition Ray-Ban as a global iconic brand,” said Fabio d’Angelantonio, group marketing director at Luxottica, the Milan-based $6.3 billion eyewear powerhouse. “The brand was there, but it was not as brilliant as it could be, so we’ve been working on manufacturing, marketing, communications and starting to rebuild the central idea that for our consumers, the most fashionable thing they can be is themselves. And it’s through these iconic styles that we’re trying to reinterpret the historic relationship the brand had with rock ’n’ roll, and we’ve been looking for artists with the capability to express a unique personality that matches the independent spirit of Ray-Ban.”
The Clubmaster was introduced in 1986, yet takes its shape from popular sunglasses once associated with Malcolm X and Sixties American pop culture. Seven additional colors are joining the frame’s classic tortoise and black offerings. A similar celebration moves onto Beijing and Milan this spring. The style retails for $129.
Ray-Ban declined to specify whether it will continue its winning business model of relaunching old styles through high-profile parties and celebrity placement. Some attribute the Wayfarer’s renewed popularity to such stars as Nicole Richie, Mischa Barton and the late Heath Ledger.
“We don’t want to abuse our library of products, but we want to certainly look back and look forward at the same time,” said d’Angelantonio. “As previously with the Wayfarer, we used our archives more for hyping ourselves to deliver the brand message and reinterpret the brand product. It helped us in designing for the future. Will we do it again? Yes. Will we do it soon? Probably not.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast