HONG KONG — Martial arts master Donnie Yen unveiled his newly minted eyewear collection to more than 600 entertainment bigwigs and friends at Tsim Tsa Tsui’s Victoria Dockside Thursday night.
Known best for his work in the Ip Man films depicting Bruce Lee’s master and the “Star Wars” franchise, Yen collaborated with Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov of On Aura Tout Vu, the Parisian designers who have launched eyewear for the likes of Madonna, Katy Perry and Beyoncé.
“I’ve had a number of brands who have wanted to collaborate with me, but they were never things that I wanted to do,” Yen said at the launch, which drew a deluge of support across Hong Kong’s entertainment industry. Singer Hacken Lee, actresses Sandra Ng and Niki Chow, and model Qi Qi were among other notables lining up in front of the press pit in droves.
“Sunglasses I’m excited about because they’re essential accessories — everybody wears them. And they’re iconic. From James Dean to Elvis, Bruce Lee and even in some of my films, I wear a lot of them,” Yen said.
Stoianova described the year-long process working together with Yen as simple. “Working with [stars] is easy because they have incredibly big personalities.…He knows what he wants to do and he has so strong a universe that it was easy for us.”
Each sunglass model ranges from 2,000 to 6,000 Hong Kong dollars, or $255 to $765, and are available in limited quantities of roughly 20 pairs. Hand-made in Paris, each style is named after a quality of character — confidence, honor, grace, rebel — attributes that form the pillars of what the kung fu master calls his “basic beliefs.”
“Anyone can choose from the collection depending on how they feel and how they usually dress themselves,” Yen said.
If forced to pick just one frame, Samouilov said he would pick “legend,” a pair of shades that features a dragon’s head in the middle of the bridge with claws on the frame. “The dragon part was where we wanted there to be a French touch with a twist from Asia. We imagined that upon putting this eyewear on, you can discover the power of the dragon. That was our twist on Donnie and the bridge between French and Asian culture.”
For now, the only point of sales for DonniEye is through the Internet but ZupaZtar, the backers of the endeavor, are looking into moving the offer into major outlets across Hong Kong and into their portfolio of shops across China. Though the customer base remains confined somewhat to Greater China for the moment, Yen, who has an upcoming role in the Mulan remake, is cautiously optimistic and lets on to expect more collections. “This is definitely something I would like to introduce to the world but there will hopefully be more collections and possibly more than sunglasses to show then.”