notes: We snapped Tatiana wearing this year’s most popular pair of shades: the ultra-coveted Dior So Real sunglasses, which have been dubbed a “street style sensation.” First spotted at Dior’s Summer 2014 show, the reflective sunnies quickly gained “A-list” status when Rihanna took home a pair. She later sported the “So Real” shades in her Dior “Secret Garden” campaign.
Notable for its pantos shape and lack of a traditional nose bridge, the sunglasses mix architectural design with a fashion-forward flair. Made from acetate and metal, the frames look strong and delicate at the same time. Flash mirror lenses complete the superstar look.
Some eyewear brands draw you in with their bold statements. Others, make their mark with small details. The new, Los Angeles-based eyewear brand, Jacques Marie Mage, is impressive for being big and small all at once – and doing it with integrity, innovation and style.
We had a chance to visit the Jacques Marie Mage studio in L.A. to sit down for a chat with the brand’s founder and creative director, Jerome Mage. In person, Mage is smart and eloquent, a man who is clearly passionate about his work, and interested in hearing your thoughts, but someone who won’t let his vision be dictated by the opinions of others.
We were eager to soak in his creativity, and eager to find out what it really takes to run a truly contemporary, forward-thinking, independent eyewear brand today. Along the way, we also had a chance to look through the brand’s latest collections, picking out a few favourites to showcase on The Spectaced. Here’s what we discovered…
Jacques Marie Mage frames are easy to spot. They are sculptural, geometric shapes that stand out for their physicality. Some frames are vivid and striking; others are imposing yet delicate at the same time. It’s not about taking vintage designs and “modernizing” them. Rather, Mage fuses all his inspiration – from classic literature, to vintage fashion, to the Art Deco movement – into new and untraditional forms.
Though Mage was born in France, he’s spent the past two decades in California, where he initially escaped to surf and skate. He worked for an action sports brand, before launching Jacques Marie Mage (JMM) last year. His collection is an apt representation of Mage’s lives lived: elegant yet laidback; refined yet robust.
The materials used are impressive: 10mm block of acetate, sterling silver and 18 ct. gold, to name a few. Mage also experiments with leather and wood. His signature hinge, meanwhile, opens and shuts like a car door, and feels secure and substantial.
Citing his love of Westerns, Mage incorporates Indian arrow rivets and cowboy spurs into the temples of each pair of glasses, bypassing the more traditional round or square-shaped rivets that other companies use. It’s an impressive and subtle nod to whimsy that you don’t often see among other eyewear brands these days.
Everything is handmade, by frame-makers in Japan and Italy. Each factory has a symbol engraved in the frames. On the temple tips of the frame made in Japan appears the Japanese word for “harmony.” The Italian-made frames also have a word inscribed on the temples: Fortuna, or good fortune. “I want the people who built these frames to be acknowledged for their work,” Mage says. “It’s important that they have a connection to what they are doing and that they take pride in making these glasses.”
The details extend to the JMM packaging, which Mage refers to as a “classically French presentation.” The glasses come in a vegetable-tanned leather case, handmade in Italy. The case is edge painted for uniqueness. The accompanying cleaning cloth is inspired by a paisley print Kimono that Mage bought in Japan. Everything is then presented in a stately burgundy box, lined with marble-printed paper that was inspired by vintage foil silk. A note card is printed with burgundy ink, and made at the oldest letter press in Los Angeles.
Philanthropy is also an important part of Mage’s company. Jacques Marie Mage donates a percentage of every spectacle sold to The Yellowstone Park Foundation and Living With Wolves – two organizations that work to protect America’s National Parks and its wildlife. The idea was inspired by Mage’s son, who accompanies him on a yearly father-son trip to Yellowstone. The idea, it seems, is also a metaphor for the brand.
“The ecosystem of Yellowstone is not dissimilar to the ecosystem of working with our factory and our vendors and our company,” Mage says. “Everything needs to work together in harmony; it’s an allegory for what I’m trying to achieve with my business.”
eyewear: Oliver Peoples
notes: We photographed actress Casey LaBow at Governor’s Ball in New York, wearing these vintage Oliver Peoples sunglasses. Part of Oliver Peoples’ “Linus” collection, this frame is notable for its unique bridge, which reminded Casey of an old movie theatre curtain. As an actress, that quirky design touch “spoke to her” and made her fall in love with these glasses immediately!
Made in Japan, these frames are hand-crafted from antique gold alloy, with dark green lenses that almost appear black from certain angles. The original frame was part of Oliver Peoples’ extensive archive of vintage glasses, which founder Larry Leight has been collecting and amassing for decades.
eyewear: Warby Parker
notes: Evan liked the gold and tortoiseshell mix on these aviator sunglasses, which he calls his “go-to frames.” And why not? The classic aviator shape fits almost any face shape, and flatters any look, whether casual or professional. Evan’s pair has a slightly oversized lens shape, that almost appears rectangular from certain angles. They add structure to the face, while the built-in nose pads help the frames rest comfortably away from the eyes and stay well-balanced at the bridge of the nose. (Note: If your eyelashes are touching the lenses, your glasses are sitting too tight on your face!) Unlike some titanium frames, Evan’s pair is thick and weighty enough to handle his custom prescription lenses. The brown gradient tint is classy and understated.
notes: Morgan Bogle is the founder of accessories label, Freedom of Animals, which is known for their luxe collection of sustainably-made and cruelty-free bags. We spotted Morgan carrying the label’s “Boromo” circle bag in New York. The bag is made from a vegetable-dyed, faux-snakeskin. Morgan finished off her look in Illesteva “Leonard 2″ sunglasses, which feature a “Half/Half” colorway of black and tortoise. The shades were given to Morgan as a birthday present and she found that the shape worked well with her square jaw. Eyewear is all about contrasts, so the super round shape of these Illesteva frames definitely suit someone with a square face, by drawing attention to the eyes and balancing out the proportions. We love the whole look here – and we love Morgan’s bag line as well. For more about Freedom of Animals, check out freedomofanimals.com.