As Philippe Vergez was drawing up plans to launch his own line of sunglasses in 2003, he had just one nonnegotiable: It had to be eyewear exclusively for women. “At the time, there was the fashion of oversize glasses, but I couldn’t find any big frames that would fit women properly,” he says. “Their facial structure is completely different to that of men.” The following year, Vergez started his first collection under the name Jee Vice Optics, offering up his imaginings of couture-inspired eyewear. They were big, bold and with an extravagant sensibility, and were intended for a certain category of confident women. “We had to make ourselves known and make people understand what we were doing,” says Vergez. “Most women were buying a brand for the name. We had to fight to make them understand that while the name is important, the way they looked was important, too.” His efforts appear to have paid off; the eyewear began popping up on young celebrities (Anne Hathaway and Lindsay Lohan are new fans), which gave Jee Vice instant visibility and that all-important street cred. In January, Jee Vice moved its main corporate headquarters from France to San Clemente, Calif., in part to focus expansion on the domestic market. According to Chad Navarro, vice president of U.S. sales for Jee Vice, the brand is sold in about 300 doors nationwide, including majors such as Nordstrom, independent boutiques like Shop Intuition in Los Angeles and specialty optical retailers such as Dan Deutsch Optical Outlook in Beverly Hills. Navarro says he was expecting “major growth” going forward. “Our target goal is to expand into 600 stores nationwide [by the end of 2009],” he says. This expansion will in part be driven by an optical line being introduced by Jee Vice later this year. Navarro says he is confident that Jee Vice’s key selling points — each piece is designed individually and made by hand in Italy, based on inspiration drawn by Vergez from the European underground music and art scene — will generate even more enthusiasm among retailers and consumers. “There is a strong emphasis on attention to detail,” says Navarro. In addition to the upcoming optical collection, new styles for next season include wire rims with leather on the temples down to the earpiece, as well as frames that mesh plastic nylon with metal wire. Prices average $250 at retail. “It’s not just about making money, but to make the best product,” he says. “When I design, I think of the beautiful, successful woman. She’s my target.”
“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