Since COURRÈGES (the brand and fashion house) has been sold, the new owners are trying to revive the various creative departments which were once active. Part of the revival is the re-instauration of the brand’s sunglasses. The company teamed up with none less than ALAIN MIKLI to remake some iconic COURRÈGES models from the past as well as totally new ones for the future.
The first remake had to be the infamous “inuit”, aka “eskimo”, model from 1965! These shades are so iconic they even changed the way sunglasses were perceived in the fashion world. This model gave sunglasses a higher status, allowing them to step up as accessories worthy of the highest respect.
The original model, back in 1965, was made in plastic and was not costly. It could be purchased in the Metropolitan museum’s shop back in the day. Salvador Dalí used the COURRÈGES inuit shades in many of his photographic portrays. For more information on the subject of the original 1965 COURRÈGES inuit model, also available in our sunglassespreservation archives, please click here.
The COURRÈGES inuit sunglasses were first reproduced in 1988, upon request of the Louvre Museum, in Paris, France. After that a very limited edition of 72 numbered pieces was reproduced in 2012, only for the COURRÈGES boutique in Paris, of which we have one piece in our sunglassespreservation archives. The number we have is 7 of 72 and detailed images of that specific model are listed in this post.
The limited edition was followed by the third reproduction, sold at Colette, in February 2013. All the various versions of the COURRÈGES inuit shades have slight differences between them.
The first prototype, used for photoshoots in 1965 was already different from the regular model that went into production and retail that same year. The prototype had no metal studds or applications on both frame and temples but the first production model carried studds and other applications on both frame and temples.
The limited edition of 72 numbered pieces, seen in the post you are reading now, made for the COURRÈGES boutique in Paris, has one studd on each outer side of the two temples. The frame, however, remains white without any further applications.
The 1965 retail model has two tiny studds on each upper corner of each side of the frame as well as two tiny studds on each of the two temples. The model that went on sale at Colette has no studds on it whatsoever, just like the prototype model used for photoshoots in 1965.
As you can see, the interpretation of the COURRÈGES inuit shades, within the COURRÈGES brand itself, varies slightly from generation to generation. The material used to make the sunglasses is also different from one version to the other.
The 1965 retail model is made of a sturdier plastic that has yellowed a bit through the years and carries an engraved silver COURRÈGES logo only on the outer left temple.
The 72 numbered piece limited edition has two black COURRÈGES logos printed, one on each side of the two temples.
The Colette edition has no logos on the outside of the temples but has a curved temple top on which inner part you can see the silver COURRÈGES logo as well as the name of the brand. The Colette edition, furthermore, is made of a very white plastic that has been laquered in white to add additional shine. No other model reaches that intensity and purity of white.
Both shades: the 72 numbered piece limited edition and the Colette edition do not carry any identification on them as to where they have been produced which leeds us to suspect that they have been produced in China. But we have got no confirmation on that. The retail price, however, leads us to believe that indeed they probably were produced outside the EU.
All in all, the land of origin does not really matter, as these shades were never meant for heavy duty use. They have always been a strong fashion statement but above all they have been a very strong conceptual design statement and we at sunglassespreservation look for exactly that type of strength in design. Execution is, of course, important as well, but in the case of an iconic piece like the eskimo shades, we can close an eye!
The colette edition comes packed in a thick plastic cilynder with a transparent printed foil with english text on it explaining the story of the COURRÈGES inuit sunglasses. The 72 numbered piece edition is packaged the same way as the Colette edition but the text printed on the transparent foil is in French rather than English.
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