Vincent Cassel is now the face of Vuarnet.
“He’s one of the few French actors that people know in the U.S. market,” said Lionel Giraud, Vuarnet’s chief executive officer. “He really represents the story we want to tell about the brand.”
This campaign coincides with Vuarnet’s strategy to reintroduce its brand to the U.S. market and increase distribution.
The eyewear brand, which is known for its mineral lenses, was started by French opticians Roger Pouilloux and Joseph Hatchiguian in 1960 and marketed by downhill skier Jean Vuarnet, an Olympic gold medalist.
According to Giraud, the brand hit its peak during the Eighties and early Nineties and was once more popular than Ray-Ban in the U.S. The business lost steam when Pouilloux and Hatchiguian decided to split the company and operate the sunglasses portion of the line and the outerwear business separately. In 2013 the Alain Mikli group acquired both Vuarnet businesses and when that group was purchased by Luxottica, Vuarnet remained in the hands of Alain Mikili minority investor Neo Capital, which owns brands including Ami, Tom Dixon and Valextra. Giraud, who formerly worked at Courrèges and Cartier, joined the company last year.
Giraud told WWD that now Vuarnet has a U.S. subsidiary and has established 300 points of retail distribution within the last year through optical stores, fashion boutiques and sports specialty shops including Clare Vivier and Artsee eyewear.
The current collection includes the Legend assortment, which includes the “Dude” style worn by Jeff Bridges in “The Big Lebowski,” and a fashion collection. The entire line, which is 70 percent men’s and 30 percent women’s, is priced from $200 to $360.