Luxottica Launches New Giorgio Armani Eyewear Collection

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By Deirdre Carroll: Senior Editor

   
MILAN—Luxottica has launched Giorgio Armani Eyewear beginning with the Frames of Life collection.

Giorgio Armani planted his flag in the eyewear category back in 1988 when he first launched his eyewear collection with Luxottica. Safilo acquired the license in 2003 but Armani came home to Luxottica in late 2012 when it signed a new 10-year licensing agreement with the company.

“What we were looking for from the start in the reload of this incredible partnership, which already made history once, is to create a collection that we both love and that completely fits into the Armani universe,” Antonio Miyakawa, executive vice president of marketing, style and product for Luxottica Group, told Vision Monday. “And from the creative point of view, what we have found again has been unbelievable leadership from Mr. Armani from day one.”

 
 Giorgio Armani (l) and Leonardo Del Vecchio, founder and chairman of Luxottica, at the eyewear launch party in Milan in February
“We always recognized the unbelievable passion of Mr. Armani and he loves eyewear,” he continued. “From an eyewear lover’s point of view, that is what has made him so relevant from the beginning. Mr. Armani, back in the ‘80s, was one of the first important designers to recognize how eyewear had the tremendous potential of becoming a very strong fashion accessory. That shows how much he loved eyewear and still does. He is super involved when it comes to leading the creative process of this collection.”

Luxottica will reintroduce the brand to its best accounts beginning with the Frames of Life group, characterized by Armani’s strong design heritage reinterpreted in a contemporary way.

“In North America, we’ve decided to pre-launch into the wholesale channel, specifically to the best accounts, the Frames of Life collection first because the statement for us is the passion, energy and quality we put back into the top collection of the Armani portfolio,” Fabio d’Angelantonio, chief marketing officer and head of the retail luxury and sun business for Luxottica Group, explained to VM.

“Over time, we will follow with an extension of the Giorgio Armani collection into the best doors, plus the launch of Emporio Armani into its boutiques and a few accounts. We are taking the time to celebrate this launch with our best clients, with our best partners, because we really want to highlight the quality of the product. We want to be clear to the industry that the focus of this partnership will be the Giorgio Armani collection, our common desire is to make that business shine again.”

According to d’Angelantonio, Luxottica will follow that launch between May and July with the introduction of Giorgio Armani into Sunglass Hut (SGH) and LensCrafters’ best doors. It will also expand the distribution of Emporio Armani, specifically into most of SGH and LensCrafters. They will most likely bring Armani Exchange into its own retail as well, but focus that brand into the Macy’s doors of SGH where they are hoping to replicate its past success, he said.

The Giorgio Armani eyewear collection itself offers a model for every look, from glasses with crystals inspired by the brand’s eveningwear and classic models reworked, to modernized retro-style glasses.

Fabio Mancone, global director of licensing and communications for Armani Group, told VM, “With Luxottica we found a partner with even more energy, enthusiasm and passion. Mr. Armani’s energy is infinite and they brought infinite energy and passion as well plus further improved technological possibilities. So the creativity, plus the technology, plus the energy and passion I think makes a great recipe for success.”

Highlights of the new line include the AR7002, an ophthalmic frame with a rounded front in a classic unisex design available in standard colors, as well as streaked grey, aquamarine and transparent pink. For sun, the Kaleidoscope glasses express the spirit of the Giorgio Armani spring/summer RTW and accessories collections. The AR6005BZ, an aluminium-colored aviator sunglass in metal, is embellished with handmade leather and silk blinders entirely covered by sequins and crystals.

According to Mancone, the marketing campaign for Frames of Life, which will begin in mid-March/beginning of April, will have a very integrated approach between traditional advertising and digital platforms. They have enhanced the campaign to make it more relevant and contemporary and given it a narrative form which, they believe, is a great format for digital and social networks.

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dcarroll@jobson.com