Luxury giants like Kering and LVMH have both radically redrawn the business model in the past few years, creating own eyewear division or joint ventures. The latest brand to take this type of approach is Balmain, with a far greater focus on long-term brand equity. Historically, the vast majority of fashion runway brands and luxury marques generated revenues in eyewear by signing long-term licensing deals with specialist producers. Balmain has taken another direction, linking a deal with a brand new Swiss company: Akoni. Balmain’s designer Olivier Rousteing actually unveiled the eyewear back in January, during its menswear runway show in Paris before cover emergency. Every model was dressed in black, double-breasted, signature Balmain coats – and wearing the new frames. In late April, Balmain donated a dozen pairs of the Wonderboy style to a charity auction (Bono’s “Red”) to raise funds for the global fight against Covid-19. Since, then the eyewear began rolling out carefully internationally in late May; with a tight distribution and high price point. A strategy many runway brands will follow in the future.

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