Larry, I would like you to talk about your passion for eyewear and about your experience. You have always had your personal vision of the eyewear market, combined with a sort of madness which distinguishes you and makes you unique.
Tell us a little bit more about that.
My passion has grown with age. At 78 I’m somewhere between Colonel Harland Sanders and Verdi in designing and developing a new brand that’s become the “Birkin Bag” of the industry in its first year. It’s been like an independent film hanging around Sundance and then getting an Academy Award. By the way, Verdi wrote Falstaff at age 80 and Picasso’s best was at age 92.
Indeed you are a controversial figure, out of the ordinary, and this behavior has made you thorny, not always loved, what do you answer to your detractors?
Thorny? Not always loved? I can’t find the word thorny in the urban dictionary, so I assume you mean horny? No, I am not always horny.
I am not loved by everyone? I am loved by my wife, my son and daughter and by my friend Karl Lagerfeld. That’s all the love anyone needs. I give autographs at trade shows, my hometown has given me a PARADE and I’ve had groundbreaking accomplishments in this business (in 60 years) that no one will ever duplicate. This year I was compared to Keith Richards, Bob Dylan & Neil Young (Daily Optician, Jan 2016). That was done out of respect, not love.
I prefer respect.
You love all aspects of luxury, what is luxury in 2016?
To start with, it is the most misused label there is in eyewear.
Luxury is a rare find in this business. Let me tell you what it’s NOT first. It’s not a shape, it’s not a color and it’s not a mystical state. It’s top quality perfection using exotic or rare material not often found in a particular product. Luxury is sometimes a paradox, and decadent (like a python grocery bag with the words “Supermarket” in precious stones across the front and they only made 10 and it won’t be sold on the internet). So this is luxury not only in 2016 but as long as I can remember.
Luxury is a combination formula – luxury is beyond quality and not “high end”. Luxury is never mass-produced. Rolex is a good watch, not a luxury watch, because it is readily available in large quantities.
Luxury is the packaging, the presentation of a limited quantity, superior product. Luxury is made for people who want quality and for people who want to “show off”.
See the LYF hard copy for the full interview.