Diane Von Furstenberg is adding another item to her oeuvre: eyewear.

This story first appeared in the March 23, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The designer paired with Marchon Eyewear to develop and distribute a collection of sunglasses and ophthalmic lenses, due to hit high-end specialty and optical stores in January. Von Furstenberg said she was pleased to reenter the eyewear market and revive the successful business she had in the Seventies.

“Sunglasses are all about two things — glamour and protection,” von Furstenberg said. “I haven’t been out in the street without wearing sunglasses since I was 19. They make me feel glamorous and they protect me from dust and the sun. And prescription glasses are incredibly important for women. It is a true friend, something very close to you that you need to see or to read, something you depend on. It’s more than an accessory, it’s a necessity.”

Von Furstenberg has been quietly working with Marchon for over a year to develop the appropriate styles, described as a combination of retro-inspired and modern shapes. The collection will retail for around $150 to $175, an eyewear “sweet spot,” according to Marchon president and chief executive officer Claudio Gottardi.

“We feel that the price combined with the quality of materials and design would be outstanding for positioning,” said Gottardi.

Von Furstenberg is focused on creating a range of lifestyle offerings, but emphasized she’s doing so at a deliberate rate. The brand currently covers ready-to-wear, shoes, bags, belts, swimwear and a fine jewelry collection.

“As I continue to have more and more shops, it’s nice to have a one-stop shop that has everything, but I’m going about it slowly,” von Furstenberg said. “It’s not about putting my name on things but making sure every product category has a reason to be.”

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