PIERRE CARDIN is back! Or better yet, he is one of the fewest that has never really gone away! Still true to his business philosophy, still in his one boutique in Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris which still looks like time had stopped within it in the sixties and still ticking to his own time and style sensibility.
After more or less ten years of absence from the pret-a-porter catwalks, he decided it was time for him to make a new spring-summer 2011 collection, in pure PIERRE CARDIN virtue. As part of this very large collection we see several sunglasses in space-age style. Of course, as was typical for the past of so many collections, Cardin’s SS’11 odyssey was filled with prototypes, many of which never saw retail shelves in PIERRE CARDIN boutiques. This was, in fact, the case with several SS’11outfits and sunglasses.
This is where our odyssey to hunt these shades down begins, all the way back in summer 2011…
Back in late summer 2011 sunglassespreservation travelled to Paris after we had seen the pictures of PIERRE CARDIN’s SS11 collection online. We went to PIERRE CARDIN’s boutique hoping to find at least one pair of the “EVOLUTION” shades left. As we entered the sixties styled boutique, resembling more a style museum than a fashion store, we were approached by very polite and kind ladies, one of which responsible for the Haute Couture department and the other, younger lady, a shop assistant.
We asked about the SS’11 sunglasses and were given a surprising response. The ladies were happy we were inquiring about the shades but could not fulfill our request to give or sell us a pair. Instead, they opened a drawer where many prototypes were coveted! Beautiful experience for us as well as the closest one can get to the developmental phase of the creative process of a new model, right before it’s final metamorphosis and retail release. We could see and touch all the catwalk pieces and were told that it wasn’t sure wether or not they would actually make it into production for retail.
We were asked to leave our contact information and would eventually get notified as soon as more about when and how these sunglasses would become available was confirmed.
Now, to shorten the story quite a bit… half a year later, mid March, 2012 the PIERRE CARDIN staff called us to let us know that they had received ten colorways and only ten pieces per color. That was it… 100 pieces in total of the brand new PIERRE CARDIN EVOLUTION shades and we had the first pick on which ones we wanted. First off, due to the fact that these sunglasses were conceived in SS’11 and made available in SS’12, they belong to both SS’11 and SS’12 collections.
We were told that the sunglasses had changed a bit because of practical reasons and that one entire model had been cancelled and that the one that made it to production was made foldable to make it more practical to wear and to fit into a box. We were sent production sheets to see how the new models were made and how they looked. After reviewing all the information, we had to make our decision.
When it comes to choosing which sunglasses to add to the sunglassespreservation archives, we always consider many factors before final decisions are made. We wanted to save a pair that would be most representative of the brand and it’s history as well as get the model that most strikes us. In this case we couldn’t make a clear decision. So we went for two colors.
These were the colors produced and available at the launch: red matte transparent, black matte transparent, black laquered, white laquered, purple laquered, navy laquered, yellow laquered, violet laquered, aqua green laquered and dark matte green transparent.
The first we chose was dark matte green transparent plastic (typical PIERRE CARDIN green) model VM1IY. We chose them because they are made in PIERRE CARDIN’s signature color. They are made of injected colored transparent opaque plastic.
The second model is aqua green, model VM7IY. Injected plastic then laquered like a car finish in aqua green. So this model is not transparent. It has a high glossy finish. This was the most odd, retro 50’s cadillac and at the same time fresh looking color available.
(UPDATE insert from 27.11.2013):
We got in touch with the talented team of UNIT studio. They are the ones that did the 3D modelling of the SS’11 EVOLUTION sunglasses. Simone was so kind to give us a bit of insight about the work process UNIT studio went through while creating these beautiful shades. Here is the letter he sent us:
from Simone, 26.11.2013:
“Hi sunglassespreservation team,
I’m Simone from UNIT Studio. Thank you for contacting us, we really appreciate your work and we found your article about these sunglasses one of the most detailed around.
Our work for the Pierre Cardin Studio regarded the translation of the designer sketches into digital 3D models with NURBS geometry. I think initially there were 4/5 different models of Evolution shades. We used them as virtual prototypes to check the angles of vision. These models were then 3D printed by Safilo in stereolitography and used as prototype. That was the first step for the catwalk (pret-a-porter spring/summer 2011), they were not-foldable and there was a two and (the beautiful) three blades version.
The second step (2012) was refining one chosen model for the production. The chosen model was the one with two blades, slightly reshaped to fit better and to host the lenses, with invisible lens mounting and hinges for folding.
Our contact was Rodrigo Basilicati: designer and engineer. Rodrigo is also Pierre Cardin’s nephew.
Simone, UNIT Studio”
The letter ends here. We would also like to direct your attention to UNIT studio’s facebook fan page, here!
Model ST PC03 has no metal core and is shaped to protect from sun both with their UV protection lenses as well as it’s extremly protruding visor frames covering the eyebrows. The model suits PIERRE CARDIN’s space-age concept to perfection. It seems made for a sci-fi movie or a real travel into outer space sometime in the near future. It reminds us of the fabulous sixties and at the same time connects us to the present as it is made of modern day materials with sophisticated techniques.
The PIERRE CARDIN logo is printed on top of the frame as well as on the inner part of the temples. They are very light to wear. The lenses are fixed in two ways to the frame: they fit into slits cut out in the bottom and top of the frame and are screwed by two tiny screws to the frame from the back at bridge hight. If one wishes, one could unscrew the screws and extract the lenses to create a pure futuristic visor which will, under the right angle, protect from direct sunlight but will not protect from UV rays.
The prototypes were made with and without lenses attached. Some prototypes had lenses pinned to the frames and the sunglasses couldn’t be folded. In fact, the retail version can be folded and because the temples have no metal core, the metal hinges that keep temples and frame together are glued onto the shades. We are not sure how sturdy this part of the sunglasses is as we do not have much experience with SAFILO’s quality and quality control when it comes to sunglasses production.
When talking about SAFILO, we are aware that the company is going through a bumpy time and are happy to see that a model like “EVOLUTION” from PIERRE CARDIN came to see the light of day because it shows us their commitment and willpower to dedicate themselves to special development of peculiar sunglass design despite the economical crisis.
We wish Mr. PIERRE CARDIN a lot of luck and many more revolutionary sunglasses along his impressive creative path. We are ready for the future and thanks to him we are one step closer to it in pure form and style. The “EVOLUTION” model has been archived and will be preserved for the future, no matter what this future might have in store for us!
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