PARIS–French eye wear designer Jacques Durand, who worked as an optician before breaking out into production in 1978, is a true believer in the classics. In fact, he simplifies his life by wearing almost the same thing every day: a black Intimissimi t-shirt, black 555 model Levi jeans (that he always buys the same New York shop) and a pair of black “Michael Model” paraboots. It is no surprise that all of his frames are all classic, timeless pieces that have become all the rage among some of the biggest names in fashion (shoe extraordinaire Giuseppe Zanotti, for example, is a loyal customer). “I love it when something is so classic that it becomes extravagant,” Durand said. In an interview with BACO’s Paris Correspondent Marianne Dorell, Durand opens up about his craft:
Why did you launch your own brand after working for Alain Mikli and Starck Eyes ? I loved these two experiences: it was wonderful to dive into the world of these impressive creators. At that time, I was head of projects and it was very stimulating. I have always been passionate about fine eye wear, as well as fast and luxurious cars. I also loved working for the Bugatti eye wear collection. Then, with the economic crisis, the projects were less numerous. For a long time, my friends told me that I should create my own brand.
How did you conceive your own eye wear brand ?
I worked for many years as an optician: I don’t see myself as a creator but more as an artisan creator, a designer. I am a true eye wear lover, and I found that there were not enough “classic” eye wear labels. Each season, opticians meet with salesmen eager to present “what’s new” and their new collections for the season. I am not someone who follows fashion, and I am obsessed with classics: that’s what I like for myself and in a lot of aspects of my life, starting from what I wear. Authenticity is also very important for me. I think we need more transparency. I am not obsessed by the “Made in France, or “Made in Italy” labels. I get annoyed when goods are labeled “Made in Italy” and you find out it is not really the case. That’s why I decided to equip my eye wear with traceable features. Each production stage is detailed on a card, listing the different manufacturers and craftsmen involved in the production process of the frame as well as the location.
Your eye wear looks very simple : is it a lot of work to achieve classic looks?
For the shape, I was inspired by famous and classic frames. Truth be told, I wanted to make very simple eye wear. I try to mold the shape to the maximum. And then there is a lot of secrets in each frame, and sometimes they are only perceivable by the wearer. For example, I add extra material on the temple tips for more comfort, the hinges are friction controlled…
You have collaborated with fashion designers. Is that something you enjoy doing ?
When I worked with Alain Mikli, I already had the opportunity to work with a talented designer. Designers are very capricious and very demanding which is great because it leads to excellence. I love to work on fashion shows. I recently collaborated with Daniela Gregis whose work I admire. I also had the immense pleasure to create special glasses for the gallerist Rossana Orlandi. For the luxury shoe maker Marsèll, I proposed a model of glasses with leather trapped in the frame that can only be felt by the person wearing them. Recently, I invited a jeweler to work with me in my atelier and we created a model with marquetry on the inside that we just presented on the occasion of the Mido Eyewear Fair along with some other new models like my sunshine collection inspired by the Saint Tropez sun!
HEADQUARTERS: Veneto, Italy