Over a decade ago, Luca Gnecchi Ruscone visited one of the eyewear stores in Eritrea in Africa, where his grandfather had once lived as a photographer during World War II. After the war ended, he began importing optical frames, Kodak film, and Leica photography equipment, opening up stores in Italy. Ruscone discovered a box of sunglasses that his grandfather wore in the Italian Army and was immediately taken by their simple, yet durable aesthetic.
Ruscone’s eponymous Italian brand, LGR, is now celebrating ten years in the optical space and has built a company on versatility and brand loyalty, counting Prince William, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Gigi Hadid among its fans. CR recently caught up with Ruscone about the future of LGR and his take on constantly evolving sunglasses trends, including the recent phenomena of tiny frames.
Congratulations on ten years. How would you describe the aesthetic of LGR?
“It’s timeless. It is a piece of eyewear that you can wear today, in ten years time, or ten years ago. It has to be long-lasting not only in terms of durability, but also in terms of time. When we design and decide to approve a model, we always think long-term. Sometimes we also have to play and think sexy as a brand. You need to show a bit of your inner soul when you design, so sometimes we come up with maybe military-inspired frames with metal and side flaps with leather, which tell the story. And for us, it’s telling our story about Africa and our inspiration, always combining the two: travel and adventure, with timeless elegance and quality.”
What’s your take on the tiny sunglasses trend?
“We have to take that into account to be contemporary. You always have to look at what other people are doing. That doesn’t mean that you follow them, but you have to be aware of where the market is going and what your competitors are doing. For that reason, we created the model Orchid, which is a thin, cat eye that can fit a 15-year-old girl or a 75-year-old woman. And that is the success of that model. This season, we presented it with leather inserts which contrast the color of acetate. It’s a stunning model which has a lot of success in Paris, and I’m sure people will talk about that model. But then we also have William wearing our classic, English aristocratic frames, but also Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible.“
How do you choose which trends to follow?
“To be honest, trends don’t really influence me. I feel there’s a ’80s, mask-like frame that is trending, but it’s not timeless. I don’t see people wearing them in ten years times. I always prefer to play it safe and to stay classic. I’m that type of guy and sometimes it’s a mistake because that limits me, but I always try to make glasses for myself, my family, and my close group of friends who usually consume classic types of eyewear. I see trends coming and going. This mask trend, I’m not convinced.”
Who do you see in your frames?
“I see from the young millennials who want to buy statement, European eyewear, but who don’t want to fall into the mass market. They are attentive-to-detail with a story to tell. It’s the young customer, but also the older, maybe with an aristocratic way of buying. For example, Europe doesn’t stand on line for new stuff. They don’t spend futilely; they’ll maybe spend three times the money to buy one pair of sunglasses rather than being famous brands that everybody owns. They want to differentiate themselves and don’t want anybody to know what they’re wearing.”
What’s next for LGR?
“Every year we present the new optical collection which is very important because they sell more than sunglasses. We say a lot about fashion in our new models and this year, we experimented with new materials including titanium, which is everlasting. We are also investing more in retail and opened a shop in Milan. We also want to open one in our hometown in Italy, then Florence, and we’ll move to London, Paris, Madrid, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.”
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createdAt:Tue, 23 Oct 2018 14:09:20 +0000