here, a long article at wwd of today..
tFS trendspotted this first, kudos to meg
Franz Ferdinands Alex Kapranos by Mick Rock.
Peaches by Rock.
Deborah Harry from Blondie by Henry Diltz, 1977.
Published: Monday, November 13, 2006 Ray-Ban Tunes In to a New Generation
By Jennifer Hirshlag
NEW YORK — Ray-Ban wants to rock the house with the relaunch of its original Wayfarer sunglass silhouette.
That's rock, as in rock 'n' roll. The eyewear label, seeking to affirm its leadership in the category for a younger generation, is aiming to create buzz by focusing on its 70-year history, including its links to rock music, said Marcello Favagrossa, Ray-Ban's brand director.
"When we began to look at how we wanted to strategically position the brand, we came to an easy and natural conclusion that in the history of our product we have a gold mine," Favagrossa said. "So now what we are trying to do is dig out the gold nuggets. But the challenge behind promoting a history of a brand is how do you convey the message that it's always modern? Then we began addressing the brand's longtime association with rock 'n' roll, and we realized it would be a perfect thing to focus on. We wanted to stress the American DNA of the brand, but also let it be a bit rough around the edges."
Ray-Ban, which was acquired by Luxottica Group in 1999, is staging a rock event Wednesday night at Irving Plaza here. It will bring together famed photographer Mick Rock, who will host an exhibit of his contemporary photos of musicians wearing the Wayfarer frame and classic images shot by others; Eagles of Death Metal, who will perform, and some 700 guests, many from the worlds of rock 'n' roll and young Hollywood.
Ray-Ban introduced the oversized boxy acetate shade called the Wayfarer in 1952 and it became an instant hit, Favagrossa said. But it took the waifish, doe-eyed Audrey Hepburn to bring the Wayfarer to another level. The actress paired the spectacle with her little black dress and pearls in her 1961 role as Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," transforming the Wayfarer into an accessory legend.
During the Eighties, the Wayfarer had a renaissance, trickling into the mainstream after its starring role wardrobing Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in "The Blues Brothers" (1980) and Tom Cruise in "Risky Business" (1983). It also secured a place in pop music. Madonna wore the frame in photographs, as did Blondie's Deborah Harry, Elvis Costello, The Smiths' Johnny Marr and members of U2, among others.
"The Wayfarer was a huge success in the Sixties and all through the Eighties," Favagrossa said. "In the mid-Nineties, many historians claimed it was the most widely sold sunglass in history."
Although the popularity of the frame helped to raise the profile of the Ray-Ban brand worldwide — it came in as the fifth most recognized accessory brand in this year's WWD 100, behind Liz Claiborne, Nine West, Gucci and Coach — meeting demand began to compromise overall quality.
"For so many decades Ray-Ban was fantastically managed," said Fabio D'Angeloantonio, group marketing director of Luxottica, referring to Bausch & Lomb, Ray-Ban's founder. "The iconography of the brand is closely linked with the movie industry, as well as the music industry. And that created a magic that has moved with the brand. But when we acquired it, the business results were not as healthy as the image and reputation."
D'Angeloantonio attributed the slide to several factors: Bausch & Lomb's move to concentrate on its growing lens business, an aggressive distribution strategy that led to Ray-Ban's appearance in ill-fitting channels and its production being downgraded with multiple factories in Mexico, Ireland and China.
"We had no hesitation in having the chance to add the Ray-Ban brand to our portfolio," D'Angeloantonio said. "In this category, which is strongly moving with fashion brands, Ray-Ban is undoubtedly the category captain. It's a genuine brand for people who don't want to be worn by a brand. They want to wear the brand to show who they are. But with any brand you manage, you have to ask, what is the brand? And the mistakes that were made in the past are ones we won't make in the future."
D'Angeloantonio said Luxottica has refined Ray-Ban's distribution, as well as its manufacturing, moving it to its factories in Agordo, Italy. It also has reached into its past and is starting to pull out its iconic models for a new generation. Two years ago, capitalizing on a trend for aviator silhouettes, Ray-Ban relaunched its original design from the Forties, which now accounts for 20 percent of its sales, D'Angeloantonio said.
Ray-Ban also introduced an evolution of the Wayfarer, with a lighter weight and smaller shape that the brand expected would make it easier to wear.
Molly Sims and Mischa Barton at photographer Mick Rock party
Photo by Jimi Celeste
NIGHT VISION: Rock 'n' roll is still alive, according to legendary music photographer Mick Rock, but he's not so sure about its ability to revolutionize fashion in the way that it used to. "With all the information that is out there these days, everything gets absorbed too quickly," he explained. "There's no time for gestation."
Rock, who cited the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O as the most fashionable woman in music today, joined Mischa Barton, Molly Sims, Piper Perabo, Jimmy Fallon, Norman Reedus and about 600 other guests on Wednesday night for a Ray-Ban party at Manhattan's Irving Plaza. The party was held to celebrate the relaunch of its original Wayfarer sunglass.
Rock held court on the main floor, where he helped curate a gallery of images of musicians wearing the frames, many of which he recently took. But it was the vintage shots that fascinated Sims. "I love the picture of Bob Dylan," she said from the second-floor VIP lounge.Barton, who mixed her Wayfarers with Chanel, said that, while she loved the sunglasses, her real reason for flying from North Carolina, where she is shooting "Don't Fade Away," was to see Eagles of Death Metal perform at the event.
Quote the Pick-A-Little Ladies with me: cheap, cheap, cheap! They look like those sunglasses you buy at the dollar store to wear with your MIB Halloween costume.
Even on Miss Hepburn...I wish she had something smaller, more of a horizontal oval.
Okay, except on Andy. But that could just be because I worship him. And Johnny Depp, but he could wear a paper bag and still look amazing.
Do you ever feel that trends take off agonizingly slow? I mean, we've had this wayfarer thread going on forever and seen celebs and scene people wear them everywhere and it's starting to feel a bit old. And still, you just know that this is only the beginning: we still have to wait until summer before the trend really hits mainstream. Ray-Ban relaunches the originals, H&M will sell knock-offs by the million and everybody and their grandma and their grandma's friends will wear them to death.
Just thinking about the future ubiquity of them turns me off them.